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Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and essential for a healthy diet. Whether consumed fresh or processed, they should be served at most meals. 

Fruit and vegetables and cereals alone constitute the vast majority of a healthy and balanced diet.

The issues on safety and quality must be managed throughout the supply chain to ensure safe and quality products that meet consumers’ needs (conventionalorganic farming, integrated farming, zero-residue, etc.). To cope with such a rapidly evolving market, manufacturers must be able to rely on accredited laboratories to ensure the quality and safety of their products.

Fruits and Vegetables – Safety and Quality of the products

In 2020, according to Safety HUD and based on the RASFF data, 699 events were notified. This number increased by 12% compared to 2019.

The main source of the overall events are linked to chemical contaminants. Among them:

  • Pesticides were the first cause (483 events in 2020, increasing by 44% vs 2019).
  • Mycotoxins were the second source

The service by Mérieux NutriSciences

Mérieux NutriSciences offers a complete analytical service to guarantee the safety and quality of fruit (including dried fruit), vegetables (including legumes), along the whole production chain.



The plant protection products are certainly among the most famous contaminants, especially in those agricultural practices that overuse synthetic products. Despite strict European regulation about the nature and the amount of molecules allowed, still are the doubts about safety, also due to the non-evaluation of the mix effect with particular concern for the most vulnerable consumer groups, like children.

Mérieux NutriSciences has a dedicated laboratory for the analysis of pesticide residues in fruit and vegetables, cereals, dried fruit, dehydrated and seeds.

  • Multiresidual analysis (> 900 active principles) and single determinations
  • Multiparameter analysis
  • Anionic and cationic pesticides
  • Dedicated analytical profiles for fruits (including nuts), vegetables (including legumes) and cereals, organic food, baby food, feed
  • Compliance with 2018 update of the scientific norm UNI EN ISO 15662:2018 (QuEChERS procedure with and without hydrolysis)
  • 50 Proficiency Tests/year> 1000 analytical determinations> 96% of results within ±2 Z-score


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Mycotoxins and Alkaloids

Although known for several years, the families of mycotoxins and alkaloids are so diverse and so steadily increasing due to the climate and the intensification of agricultural practices, which are now a constant emerging concern. The alkaloids are produced by plants as a defense mechanism and can accumulate in the crops under plant-stressing conditions; mycotoxins are fungal in nature and accumulate in the field or during storage due to conditions that favor the growth of fungi (high humidity / rainfall followed by high temperatures). It is now established that these compounds act on the animal organism by ingestion, inhalation or by simple contact, carrying out a series of direct or indirect negative effects.

  • Multiresidual LC-MS/MS analysis for regulated mycotoxins, including their main metabolites
  • Alternaria mycotoxins (tomatoes, cereals, apples)
  • Patulin (fruit purees)
  • Ergot alkaloids
  • Tropanic alkaloids
  • Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids
  • Glycoalkaloids
  • Slurry preparation step on request
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Inorganic contaminants

Inorganic contaminants are characterized by natural as well anthropic origin; they have now been dispersed and accumulated in the environment due to industrial and urban waste, extractive industries, excessive use and incorrect disposal of fertilizers and pesticides.

Inorganic contaminants enter the food chain through contaminated water and soils that in turn affects vegetables and animals. The matrices involved are different and range from cereals and derived products to algae (foods for special dietary uses), bottled water, coffee and beer, vegetables, rice and rice-based products (As inorganic) , etc.

  • Heavy metals: Lead, Cadmium, etc.
  • Inorganic Arsenic
  • Nitrites and nitrates
  • Hydrocyanic acid (apricot seeds according to Reg. EC 1237/2017, almonds)
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