USDA reports 99 percent of foods tested are below pesticide residue limits

For its thirty first annual report on pesticide residues in meals, the Agricultural Advertising and marketing Service of the USDA has excellent news.

“In 2021, over 99 p.c of the samples examined had residues under the tolerances established by the EPA with 24.0 p.c having no detectable residue,” according to the report launched on Dec. 26.

Known as the Pesticide Information Program (PDP), the testing program checked 10,127 samples in 2021. Of these samples, 94 p.c have been recent and processed fruit and greens. Contemporary and processed fruit and greens examined throughout 2021 have been: blueberries (recent and frozen), broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, grape juice, inexperienced beans, peaches (recent and frozen), pears, plums, summer season squash, candy bell peppers, tangerines, watermelon, and winter squash. 

Corn grain and butter have been additionally examined throughout 2021, accounting for 4.1 and 1.7 p.c of the samples collected in 2021, respectively. 

Home samples accounted for 67.8 p.c of the samples, whereas 30.8 p.c have been imported, 0.9 p.c have been of combined nationwide origin, and 0.5 p.c have been of unknown origin. 

Residues exceeding the tolerance have been detected in lower than 1 p.c (0.53) p.c, or 54, samples of the ten,127 complete samples examined. Of those 54 samples, 29 have been home, 24 have been imported, and 1 was of unknown origin. Residues with no established tolerance have been present in 3.7 p.c, or 374 samples, of the ten,127 samples examined. Of those 374 samples, 220 have been home, 150 have been imported, and 4 have been of unknown origin.

“PDP is a voluntary program and isn’t designed to implement tolerances. Nonetheless, PDP informs the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration and EPA of presumptive tolerance violations if detected residues exceed the EPA tolerance or if residues are detected that don’t have any EPA tolerance established,” in accordance with the report.

“Finally, if EPA determines a pesticide use will not be protected for human consumption, EPA will mitigate publicity to the pesticide by means of actions corresponding to amending the pesticide label directions or altering or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a brand new use.”

Of foremost concern in choosing the meals to be examined is the chance that the meals shall be consumed by infants and youngsters who pesticide residues than most adults can have extra impact.

“USDA makes use of the information to raised perceive the connection of pesticide residues to agricultural practices and to implement USDA’s Built-in Pest Administration targets. USDA additionally works with U.S. growers to enhance agricultural practices and to facilitate the adoption of built-in pest administration strategies, together with even handed use of pesticides, all through the meals provide chain,” in accordance with the report.

“The PDP will not be designed for the enforcement of EPA pesticide residue tolerances. Somewhat, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) is liable for imposing EPA tolerances. The PDP gives FDA and EPA with month-to-month stories of pesticide residue testing and informs the FDA if residues detected to exceed the EPA tolerance or don’t have any EPA tolerance established.”

The PDP methodology contains working with state companies representing census areas of the nation that embrace practically half of the U.S. inhabitants. In 2021 this system examined samples from California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.

The variety of samples collected by every state is apportioned in accordance with that State’s inhabitants.

Samples are randomly chosen near the time and level of consumption at distribution facilities relatively than on the farm gate and mirror what is usually accessible to the patron all year long. Samples are chosen with out regard to nation of origin, selection, rising season, or natural labeling.

As a result of PDP information are used for threat assessments, PDP laboratory strategies are geared to detect very low ranges of pesticide residues, even when these ranges are nicely under the tolerances established by EPA. Earlier than testing, PDP analysts washed samples for 15 to twenty seconds with gently operating chilly water as a shopper might do; no chemical compounds, soaps, or particular washes have been used.

PDP information are offered to EPA for its consideration in setting and reviewing tolerances. FDA screens meals in interstate commerce to make sure that these limits usually are not exceeded.

The complete outcomes for greater than 2.7 million analyses, representing every pesticide monitored on every commodity, are too quite a few to be included of their entirety within the abstract report, in accordance with the PDP. Nonetheless, the entire PDP database file for 2021 together with annual summaries and database information for earlier years can be found on the PDP web site at or by contacting MPD at

PDP information are additionally accessible utilizing the PDP database search device that may be accessed at: pdp.

For extra details about PDP, please go to the program website. For added details about pesticides and meals, please visit EPA’s website

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