Pesticides are indispensable for ensuring sustainable food production. These chemicals are formulated to eliminate harmful animals, dangerous microorganisms and unwanted plants in agricultural operations. Proper usage will maximise food production by minimising the loss of crops on the farm and during storage. However, the protection of the food supplies using pesticides comes at a cost. These chemicals are absorbed by plants, causing residues to remain in the final product. If the residue levels are high, the consumption of the food could cause harm. Therefore, strict regulations have been established to ensure the residue content does not surpass the identified safe levels.
If you are running a food production operation, you must take precautions to avoid exceeding the limit. The best approach for avoiding violations and subsequent penalties is conducting regular pesticide residue testing. Pesticide residue testing involves collecting food samples or the agricultural soil for analysis in an accredited laboratory. If you would like to handle the collection, use these simple guidelines for the best outcome.
Acquire Clean Containers Choose the right containers for placing the samples after collection. Residue testing laboratories can provide suitable containers or bags for the process. Always use these items instead of common household items. Keep the containers sealed until usage, and never reuse old ones. If you would like to purchase containers, avoid polyvinyl chloride materials. This plastic will compromise the samples.
Wear Protective Gear Acquire the correct gear for collecting clean samples. The right precautions are crucial because the collector could contribute to sample contamination. Where possible, plan for complete coverage of your body before the exercise. Gloves are particularly essential for protecting the integrity of the food item. Do not reuse protective gear that might have been in contact with pesticides. Additionally, avoid sampling after involvement in pesticide use.
Avoid Cross-Contamination Cross-contamination can occur between different samples, leading to inaccurate results. Therefore, you should take precautions to keep each collection independent and clean. One of the most important precautions is changing your gloves with every procedure. Therefore, ensure that you have sufficient disposable pairs. Also, clean your tools thoroughly before getting a fresh sample.
Plan for Transportation Finally, plan for the safe transportation of your samples to your residue testing laboratory. Keep in mind that the placement of the items in a place that previously held pesticides or other chemicals will contaminate them. Therefore, consider your transportation options with care. Additionally, ensure the process is fast and efficient to avoid degradation of the samples.