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 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.

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:

We Value Your Privacy
We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience.
Privacy Settings
We use these technologies to analyze how this website is being used.
Customer Interaction
These technologies will allow you to contact us through our website, i.e. use the chat widget.
Technologies required to enable the core functionality of this website.