In Guatemala, where in certain regions heavily pesticide-sprayed cotton fields are interspersed with pastures for cattle, pesticide residues in beef fat represent a problem. Organochlorine pesticides are still widely used and even if the use of DDT has been decreasing over the last few years, this pesticide is still a major food contaminant. The present study was undertaken to establish if a correlation between total DDT levels in blood and fat could be found. Samples of blood and fat from 30 bovines were analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography. The “ppm in fat/ppb in blood” ratio was calculated to be 0.96 ± 0.39 (mean ± S.D.), the regression line to be Y = 2.54 + 0.61 X (Y = ppb in blood, X = ppm in fat) and the correlation coefficient to be 0.889. It was established that blood analysis may be used to estimate, before slaughter, if the residue levels in the fat are exceeding the legal limits.

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Author notes

1Thesis work by C. E. Gutiérrez B. in obtaining the Veterinary Surgeon degree.

2Thesis advisor, Scientist, Division of Food Control and Analysis of INCAP.

3Chief of the same Division.