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Pesticides to be tested in Rice for export to USA and Europe

Did you know that Indian rice exports have been facing rejection in foreign markets of USA, Europe and many other countries due to detection of pesticide residue exceeding the prescribed Maximum Residue Limit? So, it is highly important for exporters to get pesticide residue testing of rice samples before exporting it to foreign countries. Moreover, it is mandatory as per regulatory authority that the rice export should comply with International standards for safety and health of consumers.

The non-judicious use of pesticides by rice growers leads to decline of imports. The ever-growing market demand has pushed farmers to use excessive pesticides to gain more production even though it depletes soil health and increases input cost.

The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) states that the export of Basmati from India to the EU declined by 38 per cent and 9 per cent in 2018- 19 and 2019-20 respectively.

Consignments of rice from India in importing countries have been banned many times in the recent past. The reason was the residue of pesticides above the prescribed limits and detection of compounds banned in the importing countries. The excess use of pesticides in rice leads to rejection of rice in the international market which hampers our trade and authenticity.

Significance of Mandatory Testing and Inspection Certification

  • As per the notification, the certificate of inspection by Export Inspection Agencies will be mandatory for exports to European countries. The lack of awareness regarding judicious use of pesticide among farmers has become one of the major reasons behind the rejection of rice consignments to other countries. 
  • Basmati and non-Basmati rice requires certificates issued by Export Inspection Council (EIC). The Agriculture Department ensures that the bills of pesticides must be checked at grass root levels to curb the sale of sub-standard agrochemicals to farmers as per Insecticides Act, 1968, and the Fertiliser Control Act, 1985.

Maximum Residue Limit

India is the second largest producer of rice in the world and is still one of the largest exporters of rice.  There is growing global awareness and monitoring of pesticide residues in food products around the world.

Apparently, India’s rice export to Europe declined around 40% over the issue of maximum residue level (MRL) in 2018-2019 as rice samples were found to have pesticides beyond the permissible limits. So, it is crucial that the rice samples pass the mandatory testing. 

There are stringent chemical residue norms on use of the pesticides acephate, carbofuran, propiconazole, thiamethoxam, thiophanate methyl, tricyclazole, chlorpyrifos, buprofezin, carbendazim and isoprothiolane. It is mandatory for manufacturers to register these pesticides in Europe and USA before they are allowed to be used for rice cultivation.

Impact of pesticides on agricultural product

Several reports show that around 20-30% of agricultural produce is lost annually due to insect pests, diseases, weeds and rodents. Eventually, pesticides have become an integral part of modern rice technology and it is quite essential in rice production to avoid crop spoilage, however if it is used above the judicious level, it could be harmful for humans, domestic animals, and the environment.

Pesticide above the safe level may cause acute poisoning and cancer in the long run. The production, distribution and its intrinsic use requires strict regulation and control. Pesticides can have acute and chronic health effects. 

A glance at few common pesticides in rice

Pesticide residue in rice not only affects the quality of the rice, but also threatens the health of consumers. The common pesticides used in rice production in the field are:

  • Carbaryl, Lambda-cyhalothrin, malathion and zeta-cypermethrin are all broad-spectrum pesticides used on rice. 
  • Copper sulphate pentahydrate and diflubenzuron are narrow-spectrum pesticides that have a moderate duration impact, lasting between a few days and two weeks.
  • Lipophilic pesticides are frequently found in brown rice, whereas fungicides are mainly found in milled rice.
  • Carbendazim, malathion, iprodione, tebuconazole, quinclorac and tricyclazole are the pesticides most frequently found in white rice,
  • Buprofezin, hexaconazole, chlorpyrifos and edifenphos are most commonly found in paddy rice.

Method of pesticide residue detection

To detect even the low levels of pesticides in rice, highly sensitive, selective and accurate analytical methods are needed. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) has been an appropriate method for pesticide analysis due to its high selectivity and sensitivity as well as its suitability for a wide range of compounds in various sample matrices.

CODEX Alimentarius

Codex Alimentarius standards are the reference for the international trade in food, for quality and assurance, so that consumers can buy food anywhere in the world without any doubt.  Currently, there are Codex standards for more than 100 different pesticides.

List of pesticides to be tested in rice as per EU regulation 893/2010

  1. Cyfluthrin (including other mixture of constituent isomers, sum of isomers. (F)
  2. Acephate
  3. Buprofezin
  4. Carbofuran
  5. Sum of benomyl & Carbendazim 
  6. Isoprothiolane
  7. Methamidophos
  8. Pirimiphos Methyl
  9. Profenophos
  10. Propiconazole
  11. Tebuconazole
  12. Triazophos
  13. Thiamethoxam
  14. Tricyclazole
  15. Flonicamid[sum of flonicamid TNFG & TNFA (R)]
  16. Imidacloprid
  17. Metconazole  (sum of isomers) (F)
  18. Prothioconazole
  19. Tebufenozide(F)
  20. Thiophanate-methyl(R)
  21. Chlorpyrifos
  22. Zearalenone
  23. NOS Terminator
  24. 35S CaMV Promoter
  25. Lead (as Pb)
  26. Cadmium (as Cd)
  27. Mercury (as Hg)
  28. Arsenic (as As)
  29. Zinc (as Zn)
  30. Copper (as Cu)
  31. Ochratoxin A
  32. Aflatoxin B2
  33. Aflatoxin G2
  34. Aflatoxin G1
  35. Total Aflatoxins
  36. Aflatoxin B1


As per US Regulations

  1. Acephate
  2. Carbendazim
  3. Triazophos
  4. Buprofezin
  5. Isoprothiolane
  6. Tricyclazole
  7. Tebuconazole
  8. Thiamethoxam
  9. Propiconazole
  10. Pirimiphos Methyl.
  11. Chlorpyrifos


As per the Food Safety and Standards Regulations (FSSR)-2011

  1. Epoxiconazole
  2. iodosulfuron methyl sodium 
  3. Dithiocarbamates (expressed as CS2)
  4. Propineb
  5. Copper (as Cu)
  6. Mercury (as Hg)
  7. Cadmium (as Cd)
  8. Lead (as Pb)
  9. Arsenic (as As)
  10. Tin (as Sn)
  11. Methyl mercury (by GC).
  12. Aflatoxin B1
  13. Aflatoxin B2
  14. Aflatoxin G2
  15. Aflatoxin G1
  16. Total Aflatoxins
  17. Ochratoxin A
  18. Melamine
  19. Mineral matter
  20. Aldicarb
  21. Aldrin
  22. Chlordane (sum of cis-, trans-, andoxychlordane)
  23. Heptachlor
  24. Isoproturon
  25. Lindane (Gamma -HCH)
  26. Endosulfan (residues are measured and reported as total of endosulfan A & B and endosulfan sulphate)
  27. Metribuzin
  28. Carbofuran
  29. Methomyl
  30. Tebuconazole
  31. Thiophanate-methyl
  32. Thiamethoxam
  33. Captafol
  34. Bitertanol
  35. Ferbam
  36. Kresoxim methyl
  37. Formothion
  38. Propiconazole
  39. Simazine
  40. Triadimefon
  41. Diazinon
  42. Difenoconazole
  43. DDT (O’P & P’P)
  44. Tridemorph
  45. Fenitrothion
  46. Azoxystrobin
  47. Pyraclostrobin
  48. Methyl Parathion
  49. Trifloxystrobin
  50. Monocrotophos
  51. Fipronil (sum of fipronil + sulfone Metabolite (MB46136) expressed as fipronil)
  52. Sulfosulfuron
  53. Chlorimuron-ethyl
  54. Methabenzthiazuron
  55. Triallate
  56. Carfentrazone ethyl
  57. Metsulfuron-methyl
  58. Picoxystrobin
  59. Triasulfuron
  60. Diclofop-methyl
  61. Fenoxaprop-p-ethyl
  62. MCPA
  63. Phosphamidon
  64. Pendimethalin
  65. Clodinafop-propargy
  66. Cypermethrin and isomers (sum of isomers) (fat soluble residue)
  67. Trifluralin
  68. Decamethrin/Deltamethrin
  69. Pirimiphos-ethyl


Pesticide residue testing in our labs

We are a leading NABL ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited food testing lab offering the test for pesticide residues in rice and many other food products. Our lab is located in New Delhi India which is close to the rice-producing and processing belt of India. We have developed a highly sensitive, rapid and reproducible method for the detection of pesticides in Rice samples. Our Laboratory has been approved by the Export Inspection Council (EIC). 

We can carry out pre-shipment inspection and sampling of consignments even from remote locations, using an extensive network of trained field staff, to give you complete peace of mind.

The results of an analysis are provided within 24-48 hours of the samples reaching our lab. We can also conduct other tests including non-GMO certification, heavy metals, pesticide residue, microbiology and other quality parameters as per your requirements.

Contact Us today using this link or the quick query form on the right to get more details and a quotation for testing.

You can quote the discount code PESTIRICE for a special discount on Pesticide testing in Rice!


1.How long will the test take?

 It takes around 7-8 working days

2. What is the sample quantity required?

Sample quantity differs as per the regulatory requirements. 

3. What is the major equipment used in pesticide residue testing in rice? 

Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS)

4.What is the regulatory requirement for pesticide residue testing in rice?


One Response

  1. Is EU test only those pesticides,
    1. Carbendazim
    2. Benomyl
    3. Cyfluthrin
    4. Thiophnate-Methyl(R) for rice .

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