Reduction of pesticide residues in tomatoes and other produce

J Food Prot. 2013 Mar;76(3):510-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-240.


There is interest in reducing pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables in order to minimize human exposure. The objectives of this study were to (i) determine the effect of various washing treatments with and without sonication on pesticide removal from tomatoes and (ii) assess the effectiveness of a water wash on select samples using a produce-washing flume. In the first set of experiments, tomatoes were contaminated with acephate, malathion, carbaryl, bifenthrin, cypermethrin, permethrin, cyhalothrin, chlorothalonil, and imidacloprid and were dried overnight. Subsets of the tomatoes were then washed (10°C, 1 min) with one of the following: water, sodium hypochlorite (80 μg/ml, pH 7), peroxyacetic acid (80 μg/ml), or Tween 20 (0.1%) with and without sonication. In general, the effect of sonication depended on the washing treatment and on the pesticide. A separate experiment measured pesticide residues in contaminated samples before and after being washed in a flume (22°C, 1 min). Pesticide residues in contaminated produce were reduced from about 40 to 90% when washed for 1 min in the flume.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Solanum lycopersicum / chemistry*


  • Pesticide Residues