What’s In Our Food: Keeping Consumers Safe With Highly Sensitive Analytical Test Methods

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Get your analysis right… right from the start.

Contributed by Agilent Technologies.

Accelerate & Simplify Comprehensive Pesticide Residue Testing In Food Samples

Pesticides used to protect crops from disease or harmful organisms during production, storage, and transportation have potential toxicity. Pesticide residues remaining in or on commodities such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, honey, oil seeds, cereals, and food of animal origin can cause adverse health effects and environmental concerns as well. As part of food and feed safety testing for the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) of legally permitted pesticides, analytical laboratories adhere to the method performance criteria set out by the SANTE 12682/2019 guidelines. 

Ensuring that foods are free of harmful levels of pesticide residue contamination can involve multiple analytical approaches and heavy technician workloads. Both lead to high operating costs and slow turnaround times. Agilent brings you a flexible, verified workflow for the analysis of 510 pesticide residues with the 6470B LC/MS/MS system. Integrating Agilent sample preparation supplies and protocols with the Masshunter software, this comprehensive pesticide workflow helps you meet today’s regulatory guidelines. 

Agilent comprehensive workflow brings about:

  • Speed​ with high throughput sample preparation, together with fast separation and quantitation on a single analytical method
  • Coverage​ of multiple pesticide classes in a single methodology that is scalable
  • Robust​ness and Consistency in batch-to-batch, day-to-day performance
  • Reliable, high quality consumables, supplies and standards​
  • Support & Staff Competency​, offering a complete solution under one roof

There is a strong demand and need for highly sensitive analysis methods of multi residue pesticides in food matrices to ensure food safety for consumers. For example, according to EU regulation, a maximum residue level (MRL) is the highest level of a pesticide residue legally tolerated in or on food or animal feed when pesticides are applied. Ten µg/kg (10 ppb) is the MRL for most pesticides except for explicitly prohibited compounds.

A comprehensive workflow was developed for the quantitation of 510 pesticide residues with the intention to accelerate and simplify routine laboratory food testing. The workflow includes sample preparation, chromatographic separation, mass spectrometry (MS) detection, data analysis, and interpretation. The Agilent Pesticide Dynamic MRM Database has over 750 pesticides, including curated parameters for fast and easy transfer into the analytical method. This complete system will streamline routine pesticide analysis, and therefore accelerates lab throughput and productivity.

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The workflow performance was not only evaluated, but also verified according to SANTE/12682/2019 based on limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantitation (LOQ), calibration curve linearity, and recovery and precision using matrixmatched calibration standards. The method performance across tomato, wheat, and olive oil matrices demonstrated the method applicability for quantitative analysis of multiresidue pesticides in high water, high oil, and high starch contents with potential implication for use on other food matrices.

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Sample Preparation Made Simple

Get your analysis right… right from the start. Use the Agilent matrix guide to determine which clean up method is recommended. In this guide, you’ll find the consumables you need for the rapid analysis of 510 pesticides in foods. These are recommended Agilent extraction and clean up consumables for vegetables and fruits, cereals, and foods of animal origin as designated by SANTE/11813/2017.

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Unbelievably Robust, Remarkably Versatile—The Agilent 6470B Triple Quadrupole LC/MS

In the lab, you face consistent pressure to do more with less while trying to keep up with a growing workload. Success means having instruments that you can rely on to overcome diverse challenges. The Agilent 6470B LC/TQ—the latest version of our trusted workhorse—gives you the versatility and robustness you need to handle a breadth of applications. With its proven performance, backed by numerous peer-reviewed articles, the 6470B LC/TQ is an instrument you can trust to meet your evolving needs, every day. Plus, with new productivity-boosting enhancements, the 6470B LC/TQ suits your current and future needs for sensitivity and throughput.

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The Agilent Pesticides Analysis Workflow 

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Agilent SLIMS—Manage your lab data in one place

With SLIMS, your lab operations can be completely digitalized, allowing your customers to easily submit analytical requests. Lab managers can plan, track, and assign tasks to other operators. SLIMS guides users through workflows and procedural steps while ensuring that all your instruments and reagents are operating well. SLIMS connects your instruments and software in a fully bidirectional way. The system makes the reviewing process easier, enabling you to generate customized reports that you can certify and deliver to customers.

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What is Agilent SLIMS? 

Agilent SLIMS combines a laboratory information management system (LIMS) and electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) in a single system, enabling comprehensive workflow management. SLIMS is flexible and configurable, helping you increase your lab’s productivity. The system is designed to support the requirements of ISO17025, 21 CFR Part 11, HIPAA, and CLIA.

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