Chemical Residue Testing of Fresh Food Crops

Food Forest Farm, 31st May 2022


Pesticide residues in food are an increasing concern among consumers and the food distribution industry. Where pesticides are used in farming, most fresh food is particularly susceptible to persistent residues because it is seldom washed at the point of harvest, to maximise shelf-life, and often eaten raw or with minimal processing that might otherwise remove a significant amount of residue.

Food Forest Farm (FFF) is a permaculture-based farming business, located in the Cameron Highlands, that has developed specific protocols and IP to successfully grow a wide variety of high-value, fresh food crops without the use of chemical pesticides.

A number of important fresh food crops grown by FFF were subjected to chemical residue analysis for three insecticide groups and one residual herbicide group representing a wide range of commonly available synthetic pesticides used in conventional farming and food production.

The crop sampling was undertaken on the day of harvest to provide a stringent test of residue status for wholesalers and consumers. 

Disclaimer: The interpretation of analytical results in this report is based upon specific samples supplied by FFF to ALS laboratory and is subject to the adequacy and representative character of the samples.

Scope of Pesticide Residue Testing:

Pesticide GroupNo. of Pesticide Actives TestedComments
Organochlorines (O/C)22some insecticides in this category can be foliar applied but the majority are soil applied and highly persistent, leaving significant residues in the soil for up to 40 years. Crops can be contaminated by dust, soil splash and vascular uptake years after usage has stopped. Harmful to beneficial insects and birds.
Organophosphates (O/P)20common insecticides mostly foliar applied but certain OP’s like chloropyrifos are soil active and used to control soil-borne insect pests. Harmful to beneficial insects and birds.
Synthetic Pyrethroids (S/P)1relatively short half-lives but widely used to control a wide range of insects therefore residues can persist in the farm environment due to the frequency of applications. Harmful to beneficial insects.
Triazine Herbicides – residual pre-emergent (T/H)2long residual life in the soil and can persist over several seasons and crop rotations. Crops can be contaminated by dust, soil splash and vascular uptake. Can reduce certain soil microbiology.

Summary of Results:

When a residue test result is less than the limit of reporting (<LOR), it is considered a “not detectable” result. There are NO reported detections for any of the 45 individual pesticides screened in the lab analysis.

Sample No.CropO/C (22)O/P (20)S/P (1)T/H (2)
001Small Pak ChoyN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
002French BeansN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
003KyuriN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
004Red KaleN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
005Snacking Cherry TomatoN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
006Zucchini GreenN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
007Truss TomatoN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
008Heirloom TomatoN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
009Red Oak/Green BataviaN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)
010Black Cherry TomatoN.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)N.D. (<LOR)

The results allow us to confidently draw the following conclusions:

  1. The FFF fresh food crops on day of harvest are free of synthetic insecticide and residual pre-emergent herbicide residues, from any source, that may be harmful to human health and the environment,
  2. The FFF protocols and unique IP for growing fresh foods avoids the need to use synthetic pesticides,
  3. The FFF fresh food crops are not contaminated by pesticide drift from nearby farms that use pesticides to grow food crops,
  4. The FFF soils, water and environment are not contaminated by insecticides or residual pre-emergent herbicides that are likely to contaminate food crops from dust, soil splash or plant uptake and translocation.

I declare that this report is my own work and is technically accurate based upon the results provided to me.