Gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry multi-residual analysis of contaminants in Italian honey samples

<p>Contaminants belonging to various classes, including polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), organophosphorus pesticides (OPPs), pyrethroid insecticides (PYRs), fungicides (Fs), herbicides (Hs), synergists (SYNs) and insect growth regulators (IGRs) were analysed simultaneously in honey samples using a new simultaneous, easy and rapid method based on a liquid–liquid extraction with a mixture of <i>n</i>-hexane and ethyl acetate. It allowed recoveries in the range 80–137%, with limits of detection (LODs) between 0.10 and 5.21 ng g<sup>–1</sup>, showing a good sensitivity and accuracy. All the analysed Italian honeys showed the presence of residues of OPPs; PAHs were in 46.8% of the samples and PCBs were always below the LODs; 53.2% of the samples were contaminated by OCPs, PYRs, SYNs and IGRs. In addition, 46.8% of the samples exceeded the maximum residue limits (MRLs) established by the European Community in honey for chlorfenvinphos (<i>cis</i> + <i>trans</i>), TPP, γ-HCH, tebuconazole, coumaphos and τ-fluvalinate (<i>cis</i> + <i>trans</i>).</p>