Wed, 06/06/2018 - 19:44

Fruit and Vegetables

We analyze fruit and vegetables as individual products or as product components or ingredients. Key services include residue analysis for detecting pesticides, nitrate, heavy metals and mycotoxins and microbiological tests for detecting spoilage agents and pathogenic germs.

Residue Analysis

Fruit and vegetable cultivation relies on the use of pesticides. Because these synthetic substances frequently harbor an acute or chronic health risk and influence the natural environment, their use and maximum residue limits are strictly regulated. In addition, residues of nitrate, heavy metals and mycotoxins in fruit and vegetables are also regulated in ordinances and/or via specifications.

In our state-of-the-art, QS recognized laboratory, we identify residues in your products using the following accredited methods:

  • Multi-methods using LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS
  • Perchlorate/chlorate
  • Fosetyl/phosphonic acid
  • Ethephon
  • Glyphosate
  • Dithiocarbamate
  • Total bromide
  • Chlormequat, mepiquat and maleic anhydride
  • Additional methods

Our analysis spectrum encompasses all agents relevant for fruit and vegetables. Based on test results, agent approvals, etc., we  regularly scientifically evaluate and update the spectrum. The QuEChERS method (ASU L 00.00-115) used for multi-tests allows a rapid yet precise analysis. Combined with tandem mass spectrometry, we can identify even trace levels of residue. We regularly prove this capability in international interlaboratory tests. Aside from evaluating the residue findings based on the official threshold values (VO (EG) 396/2005), we perform an evaluation using the toxicological threshold value ARfD (acute reference dose).

We are a recognized QS residue laboratory and a partner laboratory of HDE fruit monitoring, the German Federal Association for Natural Food/Natural Products (BNN) and FreshPoint residue monitoring.  We also participate as a founding member on the German Fruit Retailers Association (DFHV)’s Laboratory Association for Fruit and Vegetables (DeLOG) expert committee.

Nitrate and Heavy Metals

Plants absorb lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic through soil and water and enrich these. This can lead to concentrations that could affect health. Maximum contaminant levels for lead and cadmium in fruit and vegetables are defined in an annex of Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006.

Nitrate is found as a contaminant primarily in vegetable crops and is defined for key crops in Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006.


Mycotoxins are metabolic products produced by fungi and many of these substances are extremely toxic. Their maximum contaminant levels are regulated in Regulation (EC) No.  1881/2006. High amounts of aflatoxins can occur in dried fruit, grains, nuts and spices. Depending on the fruit, testing for additional mycotoxins (such as ochratoxin and patulin) may be recommended.

Microbiological Testing

Microbiological aspects of both unprocessed and pre-cut and packaged fruit and vegetables are increasingly important. Guide values, warning values and threshold values are set by the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) as well as Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for food products. Since fruit and vegetables are frequently consumed without thorough heating, testing for pathogenic germs in these products is important for meeting regulatory requirements and consumer safety.

We test for:

  • Total aerobic germ count
  • Enterobacteriaceae
  • E. coli (EHEC)
  • Coagulase-positive Staphylococci
  • Salmonella
  • Listeria
  • Bacillus cereus
  • Yeasts
  • Molds
  • Hepatitis A
  • Noroviruses
  • And others


Torsten Pöppelbaum
Key Account Manager – Residue Analysis