Residue analysis of
food, feed and food supplements

What are pesti­cides, herbi­cides and fungicides?

Pesti­cide residues are residues of crop protec­tion prod­ucts that can be detected in food after the crops have been harvested. Polar pesti­cides are widely used in agri­cul­ture in the form of herbi­cides, growth regu­la­tors, ripening accel­er­a­tors or fungicides.

Herbi­cides and fungi­cides are two subsets of pesti­cides. Herbi­cides kill unwanted plants and weeds, while fungi­cides prevent fungal growth near crops. Biocides, on the other hand, also control harmful organ­isms and are commonly used in medi­cine and in agri­cul­ture and forestry. Exam­ples of biocides include rat poison, wood preser­v­a­tives and repellents.

Regu­la­tion (EU) 396/2005 sets maximum residue levels of pesti­cides for plant- and animal-based products.

Our focus
in residue analysis

Tentamus oper­ates a world­wide network of labo­ra­to­ries, equipped with state-of-the-art instru­men­ta­tion, special­ized in residue analysis. These labo­ra­to­ries are accred­ited to perform analyses on food and food supplements.

1. Residue analysis of crop protec­tion products

Residue analysis for pesti­cides and other crop protec­tion prod­ucts is performed by LC and GC (plus various detec­tion modules). This method includes:

  • Fruit moni­toring, moni­toring of vegeta­bles and their processed prod­ucts such as jam, canned fruits, frozen vegetables.
  • Analysis of polar pesti­cides (e.g. glyphosate, phos­phonic acid, ethephon, TMS, chlorme­quat, chlo­rate, perchlo­rate, etc.)

2. Residue analysis of food of plant origin

  • Includes cont­a­m­i­nants from fertil­izers and crop protec­tion prod­ucts (e.g. phos­phorus, nitrogen, potassium)
  • Fruit­mon­i­toring: analysis of fresh fruits, vegeta­bles and their processed prod­ucts for nitrate (by HPLC)

Ammo­nium nitrate is a nitrate-based fertil­izer commonly used on soils. Safe use and storage of nitrate fertil­izers is crit­ical to protecting live­stock. The use of nitrate fertil­izers is limited because exces­sive residues in crops are consid­ered cont­a­m­i­nants and can have nega­tive health effects if consumed in large amounts.

To avoid nitrate cont­a­m­i­na­tion in food, EFSA has issued a nitrate ADI of 3.7 mg/​kg body weight per day. Regu­la­tion (EU) No. 396/2005 also covers maximum limits for pesti­cide residues in food. The FDA in the USA has set nitrate limits for food, allowing for example a maximum of 10mg/​L nitrate in bottled water.

3. Residue analysis of food of animal origin.

Animal foods such as milk and meat may contain residues of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals (e.g., antibi­otics) orig­i­nally used to prevent or treat diseases in animals.

High levels of antibi­otics in animal prod­ucts contribute to the devel­op­ment of antibi­otic resis­tance, and human use of antibi­otics is no longer effec­tive in treating illness. To avoid these immu­ni­ties, it is impor­tant to limit the amount of antibi­otics used in animal feed.

Other analyses include:

  • Isotope analyses and LC-IRMS for testing antibi­otics in honey and for medica­tion of bees.
  • LC-MS/MS screening to test for residues of veteri­nary drugs in food samples.
Residue Analysis-cosmetics

Residue analysis of

Prohib­ited substances or increased levels of chem­ical substances in cosmetics can quickly lead to recalls and loss of image and thus become an expen­sive under­taking for the cosmetics manu­fac­turer. Accord­ingly, cosmetics must also be subjected to regular residue analyses.

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions and limit values for cosmetic prod­ucts are regu­lated in the EU Cosmetics Regu­la­tion (REGU­LA­TION (EC) No 1223/2009 ).

The following substances and chem­ical compounds are within the scope of services of the accred­ited Tentamus labo­ra­to­ries and can be routinely analyzed for you in accor­dance with the Cosmetics Regulation:

1. Residue analysis of crop protec­tion prod­ucts in cosmetics

Residues of crop protec­tion prod­ucts are normally more expected in food. However, this analysis also plays an impor­tant role in cosmetic prod­ucts – espe­cially in natural cosmetics.

Crop protec­tion prod­ucts can enter the product via cont­a­m­i­nated plant raw mate­rials. These may only be present in quan­ti­ties that are harm­less to health and tech­ni­cally unavoidable.

The Tentamus labo­ra­to­ries analyze pesti­cide residues in cosmetics by LC-GC with a spec­trum of more than 600 indi­vidual substances.

2. Residue analysis of chem­ical residues in cosmetics

Elevated levels of formalde­hyde and nickel, unlisted dyes or even banned preser­v­a­tives in cosmetic prod­ucts quickly lead to product recalls. If cosmetics contain these substances or too much of them, they are consid­ered unfit for sale. The labo­ra­to­ries of the Tentamus Group carry out analyses by LC-GC to check the residues and limit values mentioned and, if neces­sary, to iden­tify banned substances.

3. Residue analyses for further substances in cosmetics

  • Care substances (glyc­erin, panthenol, toco­pherol, allan­toin, bisabolol, hyaluronic acid)
  • Declar­able fragrances incl. Majantol
  • Dioxane, ethylene oxide
  • Fluo­ride
  • Fragrances
  • Heavy metals incl. deter­mi­na­tion chromium (VI) & sweat soluble nickel
  • Nitro­musks & poly­cyclic musk compounds
  • Nitrosamines incl. NDELA
  • Organohalogen compounds
  • Plas­ti­cizers (phtha­lates)
  • Preser­v­a­tives
  • Poly­cyclic aromatic hydro­car­bons (PAHs)
  • Quater­nary ammo­nium compounds
  • Solvent residues (e.g. benzene & toluene)
  • Surfac­tants

Residue analysis of

1. Residue analysis of pesti­cide residues in pharmaceuticals

Residue analysis of phar­ma­ceu­tical prod­ucts is usually already focused on the starting raw mate­rial. Thus, pesti­cide residues may already enter the raw mate­rial before production.

Using highly sensi­tive HPLC and GC equip­ment, pesti­cide residues can be deter­mined and compared with an exten­sive data­base in our laboratories.

2. Residue analysis of chem­ical substances in pharmaceuticals

Chem­ical substances can also be intro­duced into phar­ma­ceu­tical prod­ucts during the produc­tion process. Residues of solvents, sulfated ash or ethylene oxide and dioxane are analyzed by gas chro­matog­raphy (GC-MS).

Tentamus führt seine analytis­chen Tests nach den einschlägigen Vorschriften durch und verwendet diese als Richtlinie für die Einhal­tung der geset­zlichen Grenzwerte.

Residue Analysis pharmaceuticals

Method spectrum
used for residue analysis

Methods used for residue analysis in the Tentamus Group include:

  • HPLC: High Perfor­mance Liquid Chro­matog­raphy is a method that sepa­rates, iden­ti­fies and quan­ti­fies each compo­nent that makes up a mixture.
  • LC-MS: Liquid chro­matog­raphy-mass spec­trom­etry is an analyt­ical chem­ical method known for its sensi­tivity in food testing. It uses HPLC tech­niques to test selected classes of plant protec­tion prod­ucts, such as carba­mate and pheny­lurea pesti­cides, and is capable of sepa­rating mixtures and testing for each indi­vidual compo­nent with great preci­sion, detecting even the smallest traces.
  • GC-MS: Gas chro­matog­raphy-mass spec­trom­etry is a method used to sepa­rate volatile organic compounds and pesti­cides. This is done to detect pollu­tants in the air and to test for vapor intru­sion. It is capable of detecting trace compounds and is used to detect pesti­cide residues or allergens.
  • MS/MS: Tandem mass spec­trom­etry is a method in which two mass spec­trom­e­ters are coupled with an addi­tional reac­tion step to increase their accu­racy and reli­a­bility when testing chem­ical samples. This multi-method approach is commonly used to analyze biomol­e­cules such as proteins and peptides in food.

residue analysis

Food, dietary supple­ments or natural cosmetics may contain crop protec­tion product residues. These prod­ucts are routinely analyzed for pesti­cide residue limits.

High quality prod­ucts for your customers

If a product contains exces­sive residue levels, this means a reduc­tion in quality for your product, which can be asso­ci­ated with (expen­sive) recalls and loss of image. Tentamus helps manu­fac­turers to main­tain their repu­ta­tion by avoiding recalls and bringing high quality prod­ucts to the market for your customers. This is done by ensuring that your prod­ucts comply with all regu­la­tions by only containing maximum allow­able residue levels.

Results can be provided to you by our Tentamus labo­ra­to­ries within 6 – 24 hours of receipt of the sample.

Samples are drawn randomly either by you or by one of our samplers. During trans­port, sample fresh­ness is main­tained by using airtight plastic bags that prevent cross-cont­a­m­i­na­tion and desic­ca­tion of prod­ucts. A cold chain is also main­tained for goods that require refrig­er­a­tion by using ice packs or dry ice.

Global network
for residue analysis

Tentamus oper­ates a global network of accred­ited labo­ra­to­ries that analyze food, dietary supple­ments, cosmetics and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. In this way, we ensure that the legally required residue limits are not exceeded.

Although the Tentamus Group has evolved into a global company, we also pride ourselves on providing local and indi­vidual support to our customers. With our free sampling service, a team of dedi­cated experts and highly accu­rate tech­nolo­gies such as LC-MS/MS or GC-MS/MS, even the smallest traces of crop protec­tion prod­ucts can be detected.

Overview of laboratories for residue analysis of the Tentamus Group

The following labo­ra­to­ries of the Tentamus Group provide residue analysis:

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