The presence of pesticides that could remain in or on the UK’s food & drink supply is monitored continuously by testing various foodstuffs on sale to the general public. This is extremely exacting work requiring the ability to detect 100s of different chemicals at concentrations of parts per billion (i.e. 1 part in 1000,000,000 parts). UK and EU surveillance programmes include both imported and home-produced food and covers staples such as bread, milk, babyfood, meat and fruit & vegetables. SASA has experience across the range of commodities, but currently focuses on the fruit and vegetable sector.
The Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) provides a channel for monitoring the impact of legitimate pesticide and biocide use on wildlife, domestic animals, livestock and honeybees.
Exposure to pesticides and biocides can occur following:
- Approved Use (according to the specified instruction);
- Misuse (careless, accidental or wilful failure to adhere to the correct practice);
- Abuse (the deliberate and illegal attempt to poison animals);
- Veterinary Use (where subsequent investigations reveal that the pesticide detected was formulated as a veterinary medicine); or
- Unspecified Use (where the cause could not be assigned to one of the above categories).
SASA Pesticides & Wildlife Branch provides analytical chemistry support to the investigation of suspected wildlife crimes and enforcement of various laws. The support provided involves:
- The detection, identification and quantitation of a wide range of chemicals used as poisons and that may remain in or on suspected victims or baits,
- Identification of suspicious substances e.g. unknown chemicals, material collected from a crime scene, vehicle or a suspect’s possessions
- The detection, identification and quantitation of chemical residues that remain in or on suspected poisoning paraphernalia e.g. knives, syringes or containers.