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Environment

Pesticides On Foods Below Legal Limits

by Britt E. Erickson
January 5, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 1

Pesticide residue levels on most products tested by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service in 2013 were at levels below tolerances—or limits—set by EPA and did not pose a food safety risk, according to an annual summary. Residues exceeding tolerances were detected in 0.23% of the samples tested, including green beans, broccoli, raspberries, and summer squash. Since its inception in 1991, USDA’s Pesticide Data Program has tested 112 products, including fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry, grains, fish, rice, and water. In 2013, the program added samples of infant formula, raspberries, and salmon. USDA partners with state agencies to collect and analyze the residue data. The data are reported monthly to FDA and EPA, unless a finding may pose a safety risk, in which case the agencies are immediately notified. FDA conducts its own tests, interprets reported violations, and determines if further testing is necessary to take enforcement action. EPA uses the data to monitor food safety and evaluate dietary exposure to pesticides.

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