Pesticide residue legal standards for beverages: risk regulation and public perception

Khara Deanne Grieger, Stefan Trapp

Research output: Working paperResearch


Exposure to pesticide residues in dietary sources is a major concern of Europeans. Meanwhile, drinking water and food safety authorities establish and implement maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticides in drinking water and food. This study compares MRLs between EU, US and Codex authorities for
both drinking water and other beverages, i.e. milk, juice and wine, investigating differences between authorites as well as between beverage types. These results were confronted with public perceptions towards pesticide residues in beverages, based on a consumer survey conducted in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Seven frequently-occurring pesticides were selected for this study. Results show that since no specific MRLs for juice and wine exist, MRLs for the raw products were used instead. Furthermore, established MRLs are significantly greater for pesticides in beverages when compared to legal standards for drinking
water. Maximum levels in drinking water, if available, are generally low (0.0001 mg/L in the EU), while MRLs for pesticides in milk, juice and wine range from 0.05 to 60 mg/L. At the same time, questionnaire participants were equally concerned about their exposure to pesticide residues in drinking water and other
beverage types. These findings reveal some inconsistencies in setting legal maximum concentrations for pesticide residues in different dietary sources as well as between different drinking water and food safety authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages50
Publication statusSubmitted - 2007


  • Pesticide residues
  • Drinking water
  • Beverages
  • Regulation
  • Consumer perception

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