Keep an eye on residue

Keep an eye on residue

3 June 2024

Good and reliable residue analysis is becoming increasingly important. Consumers want a healthy and clean product, and wholesalers are becoming more demanding. Eurofins offers reliable residue analysis for vegetables, fruit, ornamentals and other plant material, as well as for soil and water.

"Residue analysis is a speciality," says Jan Hardeman, Account Manager Horti at Eurofins. "Laws, wholesale conditions and export requirements change all the time. We are constantly adapting our packaging accordingly. In order to be able to react quickly, we also constantly monitor publications on newly registered pesticides. We currently test for over 700 residue components.”

Active ingredients

Residue analysis is used by Eurofins to determine which active ingredients in crop protection products are present in vegetables, fruit, potatoes, soil, water or ornamental plants. Hardeman says: "We use sophisticated GC and LCMS instruments. Reliability is paramount – that is why we are QS certified. QS stands for Quality & Safety and was developed for the German fruit and vegetable sector. Many German supermarkets and chains require their suppliers to have QS-certified products.”

He explains: "Important guidelines for testing in fruit and vegetables are the European MRLs (Maximum Residue Limits) and ARfD values (Acute Reference Dose, an estimate of the amount of a substance in food that a person can consume in 24 hours without significant health effects). We can include these tests in our reports.”

Spray damage and soil life

The importance of residue testing varies. For potatoes, fruit and vegetables, food safety is the reason for analysis. "However, another reason for residue analysis can be to control spray damage. Think of spray damage caused by over-spraying herbicides. In the soil, we look for an 'accumulation' of pesticides. This affects soil life and therefore soil fertility, which can lead to growth inhibition. Our Plant Doctors therefore regularly carry out pesticide residue analyses to identify the cause of crop damage or growth inhibition.”

Drainage and surface water

Residue analysis in water is carried out for a number of reasons, such as for water authorities to determine water quality. Even with the current treatment requirement, analysis of the water used in a crop production system for pesticide residues provides reassurance, but growth inhibition or other crop damage may also be a direct reason for analysing the water.


A very comprehensive screening method offered by Eurofins is called TerrAttesT. This is an innovative way to quickly screen water or soil for chemical contaminants that could potentially cause crop damage. This includes screening for: