Facts of pesticide residues in food, by the World Health Organization

Key facts


  • Pesticides are used to protect crops against insects, weeds, fungi and other pests.

  • Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans and can have both acute and chronic health effects, depending on the quantity and ways in which a person is exposed.

  • Some of the older, cheaper pesticides can remain for years in soil and water. These chemicals have been banned from agricultural use in developed countries, but they are still used in many developing countries.

  • People who face the greatest health risks from exposure to pesticides are those who come into contact with them at work, in their home or garden.

  • Pesticides play a significant role in food production. They protect or increase yields and the number of times per year a crop can be grown on the same land. This is particularly important in countries that face food shortages.

  • To protect food consumers from adverse effects of pesticides, WHO reviews evidence and develops internationally-accepted maximum residue limits.


Please read through the articles, whose links are provided below. In the next section, Prof. Hou will explain the classification and hazard prevention.

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This article is from the free online course:

Introduction to Nutrition and Food Safety

Taipei Medical University