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USDA: Pesticide residues on food don't pose safety risk

New information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on tested food don't pose a safety concern.

New information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on tested food don't pose a safety concern.

Data from the 2013 Pesticide Data Program was posted online Dec. 19 by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service.

The information shows that more than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.23 percent of the samples tested. The PDP pesticide residue results are reported to the Food and Drug Administration and EPA through monthly reports. In instances where a PDP finding is extraordinary and might pose a safety risk, FDA and EPA are immediately notified. EPA has determined the extremely low levels of those residues are not a food safety risk, and the presence of such residues does not pose a safety concern.

Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. In 2013, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, infant formula, butter, salmon, groundwater and drinking water. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide chemical residue levels on selected foods. The EPA uses data from PDP to enhance its programs for food safety and help evaluate dietary exposure to pesticides.

The information, along with an explanatory guide for consumers, can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp .

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