New test for screening fruit and vegetables

Ian Stiff and Linda St Clair test for residues in fruit and vegetables.

Ian Stiff and Linda St Clair test for residues in fruit
and vegetables.

A new method for monitoring pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables has been developed at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Wollongbar Agricultural Institute.

The method, which can screen produce for residues of up to 90 different chemicals, uses a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer to separate and identify each chemical.

It is suitable for use on a wide range of vegetables, stone fruits, berries and other small fruits.

The officer in charge of the Diagnostic and Analytical Services (DAS) laboratory at Wollongbar, Graeme Fraser, says the new screening method significantly increases the Department’s capability to respond to chemical contamination issues.

It was developed because there was a need to screen produce for an expanded range of pesticides and herbicides at levels lower than was previously possible.

The test allows for compounds to be identified in compliance with European Union requirements and is able to detect a range of pesticides including fluvalinate, methacrifos, myclobutanil, pendimethalin, pyrimethanil, quintozene and tebufenpyrad.

The DAS laboratory at Wollongbar was recently accredited to carry out the test by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

Further information

NSW DPI Customer Service Unit at Wollongbar, on 02 6626 1103 or