A series of authority product tests by the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH), also aimed at strengthening customer awareness, was launched last November, and the results of the tests are regularly published by the office on its Szupermenta (Supermint) blog as well. Different commercially available orange varieties, and also candied and dried orange products were tested between December 2014 and February 3, 2015. Testing was performed for 302 active substances and their metabolites according to standard MSZ EN 15662:2009. A full set of laboratory tests were performed by NÉBIH on dried and candied foods as well: pesticide residues, preservatives, artificial dyes and labeling prescriptions were checked. Fresh orange lots satisfied all quality requirements, however, a dried, candied cocktail orange product was recalled by NÉBIH.
All tested orange varieties, regardless of place of origin and without exception, satisfied legal regulations, according to which the minimal sugar-to-acid ratio is 6.5:1. Measured values were between 8.1 and 13.8. At the same time, the sugar composition was also in line with literature values. Based on this, the calculated total sugar content of the oranges was in the expected range of 5-10%, with the actual values being between 7.5 and 9.6%. The samples did not contain insecticide or fungicide residues in amounts exceeding the limit values, even though there were detectable quantities. There were no pesticide residues detected in (bio) samples coming from organic farming. The measured vitamin C content of oranges ranged from 38 to 74 mg/100 g (+/– 20 rel%), which could have been influenced by shipping and storage conditions. The values of the parameters measured could also depend on the variety, the time of harvest and the location of the growing site.
Orange peels and pesticide residues
Washed and grated orange peels and orange pulp were tested separately, on an experimental basis: typically, pesticide residues could only be detected in the orange peel, and even there in only very low concentrations. It is important to note that one would have to consume many such products (usually several hundreds) to arrive at the lower limit of the health risk. It is the advice of NÉBIH that people preferring the consumption of pesticide-free products should look for fruits with untreated skin or ones coming from organic farming.