‘Eco’ levels 10 times lower

Reactiva Laboratorio adds a new technique to its services with a quantification limit of 0.001 mg/kg

A few years ago the European distribution set their own MRL standards, considerably reducing the regulation’s requirements. Since then, they usually demand that fruit and vegetable analyses specify everything that is below the legal MRL “and even below the quantification limit of the analytical technique used”. A requirement for information purposes for which there was a limitation that Reactiva Laboratorio has now found a solution. “We have developed a new method with a quantification limit of 0.001 mg/kg, that is to say 10 times lower than the existing one of 0.01 mg/kg (although in some companies they already have 0.003),” according to Adolfo Marín, the company’s technical manager. In the absence of the last audit by ENAC, the method has been validated and will mean a competitive advantage for retailers, as it can be used both for ecological farming and for baby food (jars of processed baby food, etc). If everything goes according to plan, in November they will be able to provide certified results using this method.

The laboratory has wide experience on the subject of analyses for ‘eco’ produce. Its head offices are located in the Níjar region, one of the most important fruit and vegetable growing areas in this segment, and in recent years they have experienced a considerable increase in customers of this type. Amongst the services that they offer, the analysis of pesticides in soil stands out, as it is “the only laboratory in the province accredited by ENAC” on this subject. And although in general they guarantee that the ecological fruit and vegetable producers are responsible, one of the commonest problems is the detection of contamination in the soil due to previous use of persistent pesticides such as DDT, Aldrin or Dieldrin. “These pesticides have an average lifespan of 50 years or more, according to the different cases and they are particularly problematic when growing cucurbits. Therefore, we recommend prevention, using this analytical process before purchasing or renting a farm.”

Another problem with eco production (and also for conventional produce) is derived from the manure. “It is difficult to find any free from pesticides because it normally comes from livestock that is given plants to eat that are taken from the crops and in the drying process of the manure the active materials become more concentrated.” Reactiva is going to be the only laboratory in the province and probably in Spain that is accredited by ENAC for the analysis of pesticides in this matrix.

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