WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The federal government's annual survey of pesticide residue in food shows a few cases where pesticide levels measured above acceptable tolerance levels, while the vast majority were well below tolerance levels.
to enforce government-mandated tolerance levels, to set new tolerance levels, and for research into pesticide use and alternatives.
Samples from 14 commodities were taken as close to the point of consumption as possible in 10 states, representing about 50% of the nation's population. The states were California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin.
The eight fresh-produce commodities collected were apples, carrots, grapes, oranges, peaches, spinach, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Processed produce samples included apple juice, frozen green beans, sweet corn and sweat peas. Wheat and whole-milk samples were also taken.
Of the 4,856 fruit and vegetable samples taken, 83% of fresh produce and 39% of processed products contained at least 1 pesticide residue. Eighteen percent of the 575 whole-milk samples and 91% of the 340 wheat samples had at least 1 pesticide residue. About 21% of the total residue detections were due to postharvest uses. Of the total products sampled, 89% were domestically grown and 11% were imported.
Despite the high level of allowable pesticide detection, the study found only 243 violations of tolerance levels in 198 samples. Violations occur when a residue exceeds the tolerance level or when there is no tolerance level set. Of the total 9,217 pesticide residues detected, only nine were found to be above existing tolerance levels.