How effective are common household preparations on removing pesticide residues from fruit and vegetables? A review

J Sci Food Agric. 2018 Jun;98(8):2857-2870. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.8821. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Nowadays, the use of pesticides is inevitable for pest control in crops, especially for fruit and vegetables. After the harvest from raw agricultural commodities, the amount of pesticide residues in food is mainly influenced by the storage, handling and processing that follow. If good agricultural and good manufacturing practices are enforced effectively, the amount of pesticide residues would be brought below the corresponding maximum residue level. Thus, the consumption of raw and/or prepared fruit and vegetables would be safe. Nonetheless, reports regarding pesticide residues in fruit or vegetables on mass media have been worrying consumers, who are concerned about the adverse effects of pesticide residues. As a result, consumers perform household processing before consumption to reduce any related risks. However, can these preparations effectively remove pesticide residues? Reviewing the extensive literature, it showed that, in most cases, washing and soaking can only lead to a certain degree of reduction in residue level, while other processing such as peeling, soaking in chemical baths and blanching can reduce pesticide residues more effectively. In general, the behaviour of residues during processing can be rationalised in terms of the physico-chemical properties of the pesticide and the nature of the process. In contrast, the reported studies are diversified and some areas still lack sufficient studies to draw any remarks. Recommendations are provided with respect to the available information that aims to formulate an environmental friendly, cost-effective and efficient household processing of fruit and vegetables to reduce pesticide residues. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.

Keywords: effectiveness; household processing; pesticide residues; vegetables and fruits.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Food Handling / economics
  • Food Handling / instrumentation
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Pesticide Residues / isolation & purification
  • Vegetables / chemistry*


  • Pesticide Residues