USDA says pesticide chemical levels found on scores of foods tested during 2013 were at levels that do not pose a threat to human health. The conclusion is based on the 2013 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary recently released by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The chemical levels on tested food were at levels below tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency, AMS said in a release.
“The Pesticide Data Program provides reliable data through rigorous sampling that helps assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe,” USDA said. “This report confirms again that pesticide residues are below levels deemed safe.”
Over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances, according to the summary. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.23 percent of the samples tested.
The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to the Food and Drug Administration and EPA through monthly reports. In instances where a PDP finding is extraordinary and 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, AMS said.
Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. In 2013, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, infant formula, butter, salmon, groundwater, and drinking water. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide chemical residue levels on selected foods. The EPA uses data from PDP to enhance its programs for food safety and help evaluate dietary exposure to pesticides.
Since its inception, the PDP has tested 112 commodities including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products, and water. In 2013, the program expanded to include samples of infant formula, raspberries and salmon. USDA says the data are a valuable tool for consumers, food producers and processors, chemical manufacturers, environmental interest groups, and food safety organizations.
Dec. 29, 2014 Agri-Pulse