Issue Date: May 30, 2011
Pesticide Residue Data Released
Only a small fraction of food and water tested in 2009 contained pesticide residues that exceeded safety limits set by EPA, a report from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service concludes. The annual Pesticide Data Program report provides a snapshot of the levels of pesticides found on numerous foods including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, beef, catfish, and rice, as well as treated and untreated drinking water. Samples were collected and analyzed in 12 states in 2009. Only 0.3% of the samples contained pesticide residues that exceeded EPA limits, and 2.7% of the samples contained residues of pesticides with no established limits. The data are used by EPA to assess dietary exposure to pesticides and by other agencies to help facilitate trade of U.S. agricultural products. They are also used by environmental and consumer advocacy groups to warn people about foods that contain particularly high levels of pesticides. The Environmental Working Group, in particular, has been pushing USDA to release the data in a more timely fashion.
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