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Eat with Confidence

Posted by Shanker Reddy and Brenda Foos, AMS Science & Technology Monitoring Programs Division in Food and Nutrition
Oct 28, 2020
USDA Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2019 cover
USDA released the 2019 Annual Summary report and public data set for pesticide residues in U.S. foods.

The Pesticide Data Program (PDP), part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), recently published its 2019 PDP Annual Summary (PDF, 10 MB). This yearly report found that nearly 99 percent of almost 10,000 samples of fresh, frozen and processed foods had pesticide residues below levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most of these samples were of fruits and vegetables. This means you can eat with the confidence that your food is safe and nutritious for you and your family.

The EPA sets “tolerances” to ensure that any potential residues resulting from strictly regulated pesticide use are safe for consumers. EPA’s statute for protecting the food supply, the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), sets an exceedingly high bar for health and safety, especially for infants and children. Learn more about EPA regulation of pesticide residues at: www.epa.gov/pesticide-tolerances.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has pointed out that the previous annual survey of detectable pesticide residues on foods found “more than 99 percent of sampled items had pesticide residues that did not exceed any EPA tolerances, and more than half had no detectable pesticide residues at all.”

PDP results are based on analysis of over 700 samples per food from more than 560 locations across the United States. These samples were collected during all 12 months of 2019 and were prepared just as consumers would prepare these foods before eating them at home, then subjected to analytical testing in a laboratory.

AMS laboratories use state-of-the-art mass spectrometry for the analysis of pesticide residues in the samples, and all data are reviewed by USDA scientists. Every year, PDP coordinates federal agencies and state departments of agriculture to sample, test, and compile high-quality data for the report.

The 2019 PDP Annual Summary shows that fruits and vegetables marketed in the United States are safe, healthy and wholesome. Consumers can feel confident in eating an abundant variety of fruits and vegetables to meet daily dietary requirements for good health. Visit USDA’s Choose My Plate tool at www.choosemyplate.gov to learn why making fruits and vegetables half of your plate can help you be healthier now and in the future.

Learn more about monitoring for pesticide residues at the Pesticide Data Program website.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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