Q: I often wonder if residues of the fungicides and pesticides that are used in vineyards are found in the wine we drink. Is there any testing standard that is being used by the industry? Is there any data available on the levels of such chemicals? --Vivek Srivastava, India
A: As with most crops, pesticide use is monitored in grapes (rather than in the finished wine) according to regulations set up by each country. One recent study, however, examined pesticide levels in 10 different white wines by using a technique called solid-phase microextraction. Scientists from the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Science at the University of La Laguna, located in the Canary Islands, Spain, were able to measure the residues of 12 different pesticides widely used in grape cultivation. They found that trace levels of pesticide had made it into the wine, but that those levels were well below the maximum residue limit allowed for winegrapes. The international maximum residue limit is one of two databases recommended by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for determining acceptable pesticide limits in exported and imported crops.
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