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News article6 June 20182 min read

Release of a Certified Reference Material for analysis of multi-pesticides in cucumber

JRC released first CRM for analysis of pesticide in cucumber
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The JRC released ERM-BC403, the first Certified Reference Material (CRM) for the analysis of fifteen pesticide residues in cucumber that will support quality assurance for control laboratories. It will also ensure the comparability of measurement results supporting the European single market and trade.

Pesticides are substances used in agricultural production with the purpose to control pests, including weeds. Although pesticides have benefits, it is important to monitor their amount in the food chain as they have a potential toxicity to humans and animals.

For this reason individual maximum residue levels (MRL) for pesticides are regulated in food and feed (Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005) to make sure that products are safe and apt for consumption.

Every year, official control and commercial laboratories provide 20 million individual test results for pesticide residues in food to EFSA (EFSA, 2017) for monitoring purposes.

Analytical results are used to authorise import of products into the EU internal market from third countries and for official control of commodities produced inside the EU. Levels of pesticides found above the regulated MRLs result in banning of the product for consumption to protect the health of citizens.

As this can have a significant economic consequence e.g. for the importer and producer of agricultural products, the quality of the analytical results is highly relevant in the decision making process.

Certified Reference Materials (CRM) play a pivotal role as quality control tools for measurement results.

To support measurement laboratories, the JRC produced a CRM for pesticide analysis in cucumber, serving also as a representative material for vegetables or fruits with a high water content.

The fifteen certified pesticides in ERM-BC403 were carefully selected based on different criteria such as:

  • their general use (insecticide, fungicide and nematicide),
  • being typical of different chemical classes (neonicotinoid, organochlorine, organophosphorus, azole, benzimidazole, dicarboximide, strobin, pyretroid and N-methyl carbamate)
  • or having an authorised or banned use in the EU.

Consideration was also given to different degrees of difficulty for their analysis when present in a cucumber matrix.

The mass fractions of the following pesticides with their associated uncertainties are certified in ERM-BC403: acetamiprid, azoxystrobin, carbendazim, chlorpyrifos, cypermethrin, diazinon, alpha-endosulfan, fenitrothion, imazalil, imidacloprid, iprodione, malathion, methomyl, tebuconazole and thiabendazole.

Further details on ERM-BC403 can be found in the certificate and certification report available in our on-line catalogue:

Read also more in: S. Grimalt et al.: "Development of a new cucumber reference material for pesticide residue analysis: feasibility study for material processing, homogeneity and stability assessment", Anal. Bioanal. Chem. 407 (2015) 3083-3091

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Development of a new cucumber reference material for pesticide residue analysis: feasibility study for material processing homogeneity and stability assessment


JRC Certified Reference Materials Catalogue


Publication date
6 June 2018