Posts Tagged “pesticide residues”

U.S. Food Supply is Among the Safest in the World

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SWASHINGTON  – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the 2017 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary. The Summary shows more than 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues well below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. In 2017, tests were conducted on fresh and processed foods including fruits and vegetables as well as honey, milk and bottled water. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide residue levels on selected foods. For over 25 years, USDA has tested a variety of commodities including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products and water.

USDA tests a wide variety of domestic and imported foods, with a strong focus on foods that are consumed by infants and children. EPA relies on PDP data to conduct dietary risk assessments and to ensure that any pesticide residues in foods remain at levels that EPA has determined to be safe. USDA uses the data to help U.S. farmers improve agricultural practice and to enhance the department’s Integrated Pest Management Program.

The annual pesticide residue results are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and EPA in monthly reports as testing takes place throughout the year. FDA and EPA are immediately notified if a PDP test discovers residue levels that could pose a public safety risk.

The 2017 data and summary can be found on the Pesticide Data Program page on the AMS website. Printed copies may be obtained by contacting the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Science and Technology Program, Monitoring Programs Division by e-mail at

For more information about pesticides and food, please visit the EPA website and the FDA website.

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Reports: Organic and Conventional Produce is Safe, “Dirty Dozen” List Unsupportable

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A11aby The Alliance for Food and Farming

Watsonville, CA – According to the USDA and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sampling data, 99 percent of residues on fruits and vegetables, when present at all, are well below safety levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

FDA sampling shows that 50 percent of the foods sampled had no detectable residues at all.    “In light of today’s “dirty dozen” list release, both government reports are good news for consumers and show that the “list” author’s contentions about residues and “dirty” produce are unfounded, unsupportable and, in fact,  may be harming public health efforts to improve the diets of Americans,” says Teresa Thorne, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming.

Thorne says peer reviewed research published in Nutrition Today shows that inaccurate statements regarding “high” residues associated with the annual “dirty dozen” release resulted in low income consumers stating they would be less likely to purchase any produce – organic or conventionally grown.   “For over two decades the authors of this list have inaccurately disparaged healthy and safe fruits and veggies to the detriment of consumers,” Thorne says.  “Since a farmer’s first consumer is his or her own family, providing safe and wholesome food is always their priority.  Consumers should be reassured by the farmers’ commitment to food safety and government reports that verify that safety year after year.”   Among the additional USDA/FDA findings:

  • Pesticide residues pose no risk of concern for infants and children.
  • The results provide consumers confidence that the products they buy for their families are safe and wholesome.

Further, a peer reviewed study found that EWG’s suggested substitution of organic forms of produce for conventional forms did not result in any decrease in risk because residues on conventional produce are so minute, if present at all. The same study states that EWG did not follow any established scientific procedures in developing their list. There are decades of peer-reviewed nutrition studies which show the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies on health, Thorne explains.

These studies were largely conducted using conventionally grown produce. Thorne adds that health experts universally agree that a plant rich diet is important for everyone, but especially for children, pregnant women or those wishing to become pregnant.  “What I tell women routinely is all the data suggests you want to increase your intake (of fruits and vegetables) during pregnancy and for that matter before you even become pregnant to help optimize your chance of having a healthy child,” says Dr. Carl Keen,

Professor of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis whose research focuses on the influence of  the maternal diet on the risk for pregnancy complications. For those struggling with infertility, A 2018 study in human reproduction found females under 35 undergoing in vitro fertilization had a 65 to 68 percemt increased chance of success with a stronger adherence to the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes eating lots of fruits and veggies each day.

Further illustrating how low pesticide residues are, if present at all, an analysis by a toxicologist with the University of California’s Personal Chemical Exposure Program found that a child could literally eat hundreds to thousands of servings of a fruit or vegetable in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues.  “For strawberries, a child could eat 181 servings or 1,448 strawberries in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues,” Thorne says.   For consumers who may still have concerns, they should simply wash their fruits and vegetables.  According to the FDA, you can reduce and often eliminate residues, if they are present at all, on fresh fruits and vegetables simply by washing.   To learn more about the safety of all fruits and vegetables (Twitter and Facebook).

The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes.  Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers.  Our mission is to deliver credible information about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.

A gift from the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) to the Illinois Institute of Technology, Center for Nutrition Research helped fund the research published in the peer review journal, Nutrition Today. However, the AFF was uninvolved in any facet of the study nor were we made aware of the study findings until after the paper was peer reviewed and accepted by the journal.

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USDA Pesticide Report Confirms the Safety of Food

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DSCN7181American consumers do not need to be concerned about pesticide residues on conventional and organic produce according to an annual report from the USDA.

Over 99 percent of fresh and processed food available to consumers tested below allowable pesticide residue levels, as detailed in the 24th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Report released recently by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Only 36 percent of the products sampled through the PDP had residues above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established tolerances.

PDP researchers tested a total of 10,619 samples of fresh and processed fruit and vegetables (8,582 samples). To ensure that the samples were representative of the U.S., researchers collected data in a variety of states throughout different times of the year. The findings support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, recently released by USDA and the U.S. Department of Health, which encourage consumers to eat more fruits and vegetables.

A 2012 report from CLA demonstrates that crop protection has made healthy food more financially accessible to the American consumer, providing a 47.92 percent savings in overall grocery bills for a family of four in the U.S.1  In addition, increased agricultural production, due to advanced pesticides, has created an additional 1,040,661 jobs generating more than $33 billion in wages, all while decreasing the need for tillage operations, thereby reducing fossil fuel use by 558 million gallons per year.

The PDP was established in 1991 for the purpose of collecting data on pesticide residues found in food. A complete version of the 2014 Annual Summary is available at

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AFF Issues Statement On Consumers Union Shoppers’ Guide

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DSCN4893by The Alliance for Food and Farming

Watsonville, CA – The Consumers Union has released yet another produce “shoppers’ guide” list that can only contribute to increased consumer confusion about healthy dietary choices.

he article in Consumer Reports categorizes certain produce items that have been proven very safe as “high risk.”  This categorization comes despite the Consumers Union’s own admission that half of the produce sampled by the USDA had no detectable residues at all.  If residues were detected, the majority came in at levels well below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerances (99.8%).

Further, both USDA and EPA state that “residues do not pose a food safety concern.”

“For all of us involved in promoting better consumer health, increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is among our main objectives.  The benefits of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is absolutely indisputable.  Consumers should eat both organic and conventionally grown produce without worrying about minute levels of pesticide residues,” says Dr. Carl Keen, Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis.

“Despite the best efforts of the government, health experts and nutritionists, consumption of fruits and veggies has stagnated.  Telling consumers one moment that certain produce items are ‘high risk’ and the very next advising them to ‘eat more’ is confusing and cannot be helpful with efforts to increase consumption for improved health,” says Marilyn Dolan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming.

Most recently, a peer reviewed study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of premature death by 42%, heart disease by 31% and cancer by 25%.

Recently, a new peer reviewed study conducted by the John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future found that conflicting messaging on food safety and nutrition may be having a detrimental impact on the dietary choices of consumers, especially those with lower incomes.  Researchers involved in the study recommended that “those who want to improve food production techniques and those who want to improve nutrition cooperate to create consistent messaging about healthy eating for the benefit of consumers.”

“The science is clear that the best advice for consumers is also the simplest – eat more conventional and organic produce for better health,” Dolan says.  “And, if you are concerned about residues, wash your produce.

The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes.  Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers.  Our mission is to deliver credible information to consumers about the safety of fruits and vegetables. The Alliance does not engage in any lobbying activities, nor do we accept any money or support from the pesticide industry.

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Most Produce has no Detectable Pesticide Residues, Report Shows

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IMG_6788The 2012 pesticide residue report has been released by The California Department of Pesticide Regulation, showing the bulk of items tested had no detectable pesticide residues.

Of the 3,501 samples collected at farmers markets, wholesale and retail outlets, and distribution centers, 57.5 percent  had no residues.  The samples included both domestically grown and imported produce.

An additional 38.9 percent of samples were within the legal tolerance levels, and 2.7 percent had illegal residues of pesticides not approved for use on that commodity.

The pesticide residues that exceeded established tolerances were less than one percent.

In total, 98 percent of all California-grown produce sampled by the department had pesticide residues within the legal limits.

Most of the samples with illegal residues were from other countries and contained very low levels.

In 2012, scientists most frequently found illegal residues on yardlong beans, limes, tomatillos and chili peppers from Mexico; snow peas from Guatemala; ginger from China and the United States; and spinach from the United States.

The report comes about a week after Dr. Oz aired a segment on his television show about pesticide residues titled, What the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know.

The show was “clearly designed to scare viewers and raise produce safety concerns,” according to a news release from the Watsonville, Calif.-based Alliance for Food and Farming.”

Oz and numerous other health experts have gone on record to encourage the public to consume more conventionally or organically grown produce to improve their health.

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