This study evaluated the level of selected pesticide residues in the staple vegetables; Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage), Beta vulgaris var. cicla (Swiss chard), and Solanum tuberosum (potato) from fresh produce markets in the city of Bloemfontein, South Africa. A QuEChERS extraction method was used followed by quantitation using GC-HRT/MS. The pesticide residues were detected in levels lower than the recommended Maximum Residue Levels ranging from not detected to 121.6 ng/kg recorded for heptachlor in cabbage samples. Cabbage was generally susceptible to pesticide residue accumulation with the average total concentration for different markets at 222 mg/kg. The pesticide residues were predicted to be from recent applications but their existence within guideline limits indicated that their use in vegetable farming was within the FAO/WHO recommended good agricultural practices. While the current situation points that consumption of the vegetables in the province poses limited health concerns due to organochlorine pesticides, the unmonitored use of products containing these compounds may result in elevated levels. Continued monitoring and a call for the South African legislature to revise its regulations of the Fertilizers Act to reflect the current international laws on pesticides management is recommended.
- health risk assessment