U.S. FDA issues its annual report on pesticide residue in fruit, vegetables, remain extremely low
Oct. 26, 2021
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its Pesticide Residue Monitoring Report and Data for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The report summarizes the results of FDA’s pesticide monitoring program for FY 2019. Results in the report demonstrate that levels of pesticide residues in the U.S. food supply are well below established safety standards.
Growers often use pesticides to protect their products from insects, weeds, fungi, and other pests. U.S. regulators help ensure that food produced with the use of pesticides is safe to eat by setting allowable levels called tolerances for pesticide chemical residues and by monitoring foods in the market to determine if those levels are being exceeded. The role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to establish pesticide tolerances on the amount of a pesticide chemical residue a food can contain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for enforcing those tolerances for domestic foods shipped in interstate commerce and foods imported into the United States (U.S.).
This report summarizes the results of FDA’s pesticide monitoring program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019. The findings show that the levels of pesticide chemical residues measured by FDA in the U.S. food supply are generally in compliance with EPA pesticide tolerances.
FDA employs a three-fold strategy to enforce EPA’s pesticide tolerances in human and animal foods. In its regulatory pesticide residue monitoring program, FDA selectively monitors a broad range of domestic and import commodities for residues of over 800 different pesticides and selected industrial compounds. FDA may also carry out focused sampling surveys for specific commodities or selected pesticides of special interest. In addition, FDA monitors the levels of pesticide chemical residues in foods prepared for consumption in its Total Diet Study (TDS), an ongoing program that monitors contaminants and nutrients in the average U.S. diet.
In FY 2019 (October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019), FDA analyzed 4,327 human food samples (1,258 domestic and 3,069 import samples) in its regulatory monitoring program.
FDA collected domestic human food samples from 45 states and Puerto Rico and import human food samples from 84 countries.
FDA found that 98.7% of domestic and 89.1% of import human foods were compliant with federal standards. No pesticide chemical residues were found in 42.4% of the domestic and 49.4% of the import samples.
In FY 2019, FDA also analyzed 365 animal food samples (127 domestic and 238 import samples) for pesticides. The Agency found that 98.4% of domestic and 95.4% of import animal food samples were compliant with federal standards. No pesticide chemical residues were found in 40.9% of the domestic and 43.7% of the import animal food samples.
In some human food commodity groups, the violation rate was higher for import samples. The higher violation rate affirms the validity of the sampling design in targeting import commodities more likely to contain violative pesticide chemical residues, and the countries more likely to export them. Factors considered in targeting import commodities include past problem areas, findings from state and federal monitoring, and foreign pesticide usage data. For the FY 2019 report, FDA performed a supplemental analysis to determine if food commodities with a violation rate less than 10 percent but with a significant difference between domestic and import violation rates also warrant increased sampling in the future.
In FY 2019, FDA conducted pesticide analyses for 153 domestic milk, shell eggs, honey, and game meat samples for the “Domestically Produced Animal-Derived Foods” assignment. No violative pesticide residues were found in any of the animal-derived foods, and 88.9% of the samples contained no residues.
To read the report click here.
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