USDA Report: Pesticide Residues Not A Food Safety Concern
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) data from the 2014 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary says overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the EPA and do not pose a safety concern.
The summary shows more than 99% of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.36% of the samples tested. The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to FDA and EPA through monthly reports.
Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said “EPA is committed to a rigorous, science-based, and transparent regulatory program for pesticides that continues to protect people’s health and the environment. The PDP is an important part of the basis for our work to evaluate pesticide exposure from residues in food.”
In instances where a PDP finding may pose a safety risk, FDA and EPA are immediately notified. EPA has determined the extremely low levels of those residues are not a food safety risk, and the presence of such residues does not pose a safety concern.
“Each year, the Pesticide Data Program uses rigorous sampling and the most current laboratory methods to test a wide variety of domestic and imported foods. Again, the resulting data in this year’s report gives consumers confidence that the products they buy for their families are safe and wholesome,” said Dr. Ruihong Guo, Deputy Administrator of the AMS Science and Technology Program.
In 2014, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oats, rice, infant formula, and salmon. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide chemical residue levels on selected foods. EPA uses data from PDP to enhance its programs for food safety and helps evaluate dietary exposure to pesticides.
Susan Mayne, Ph.D. and Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, noted “The PDP plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, FDA has authority to take enforcement action when a food bears or contains unlawful pesticide chemical residues. By providing an accurate assessment of pesticide levels in the most commonly consumed commodities in America, the PDP generally confirms the U.S. food supply is safe with respect to pesticide chemical residues.”
Since its inception, the PDP has tested 113 commodities including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products, and water. The data are a valuable tool for consumers, food producers and processors, chemical manufacturers, environmental interest groups, and food safety organizations.