The presence of pesticide residue in farmer market produce
thiabendazole residues in various produce sold at local farmers’ markets
Background: Thiabendazole is a pesticide that is mainly used after harvesting and directly applied to produce such as citrus fruits, apples, pears, bananas, mangos, corn, carrots and potatoes in the form of a spray or dip. The most common and most likely route of exposure to pesticide for the average person is through their diet. Studies have shown that the health risk of regular consumption of pesticide residue through produce is linked with disruption to various functions in the body, such as reproductive, developmental and hormone irregularity. The following study tests whether fruits and vegetables sold at farmers markets contain Thiabendazole and if they are below the acceptable Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) set by Health Canada. Methods: A QuEChERS method and solid phase extraction was used to recover Thiabendazole from various fruits and vegetables. The gas chromatography was used to analyze all samples and a calibration curve was produced to identify the concentration of Thiabendazole. Results: Thiabendazole was detected in all of the citrus fruit samples, but was below detectable limits for all other fruits and vegetables. All Thiabendazole levels were below the Maximum Residue Level allowed by Health Canada. Conclusion: The various fruits and vegetables analyzed are all below the MRL, with only the citrus fruits having detectable concentrations. However, since the citrus fruits were imported, further studies are required on different pesticide compounds to determine if locally grown produce meet the MRL for other pesticide compounds.