Report confirms that pesticide residues do not pose a safety concern for U.S. food
WASHINGTON, December 19, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted data from the 2013 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary. The PDP summary confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern. This information, along with an explanatory guide for consumers, can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp.
The 2013 PDP Annual Summary shows that over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.23 percent of the samples tested. The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to FDA 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.
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.
Statement from USDA:
"The Pesticide Data Program provides reliable data through rigorous sampling that helps assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe. This report confirms again that pesticide residues are below levels deemed safe."
Statement from FDA:
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for assessing whether pesticide chemical residues found on food make the food unlawful under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. FDA is able to conduct its own tests, interpret the reported violations, and determine if additional testing is needed in order to take enforcement action, as appropriate."
Statement from EPA:
"PDP is invaluable to EPA in its work to evaluate pesticide residues in food. EPA remains committed to a rigorous, science-based, and transparent regulatory program for pesticides that continues to protect people's health and the environment."
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. The data are a valuable tool for consumers, food producers and processors, chemical manufacturers, environmental interest groups, and food safety organizations.
The findings of the Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2013 can be downloaded at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp. Printed copies of can be obtained by contacting the USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service, Science and Technology Program, Monitoring Programs Division by e-mail request @ email@example.com.
For more information on EPA pesticide residue tolerances, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov/pesticides/food.
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