US: Report finds 50% of domestic and imported food pesticide free
The annual analysis of pesticide residues in domestic and imported foods, with the results for fiscal year 2015 showing 98 percent of tested foods produced in the United States do not violate federal limits.
Of the 835 domestic food samples tested from 39 states, almost half, 49.8 percent, were completely free of pesticides for the period from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015, according to the annual report released Monday by the Food and Drug Administration. The agency has been performing sampling and producing the report every year since 1987.
The Environmental Protection Agency sets the allowable limits and the FDA is responsible for enforcing those tolerances for domestic foods shipped in interstate commerce and foods imported into the U.S.
Fifteen of the U.S. food samples had pesticide residues in excess of the legal limits, representing less than 2 percent of the domestic samples tested. The remainder of the samples of U.S. foods had residues within allowable levels. Fruits and vegetables accounted for 58.7 percent of domestic samples.
“Because the violation rates of import samples are generally higher than for domestic samples, the FDA tests more imported commodities than domestic,” according to the annual report. “In its regulatory pesticide residue monitoring program, the FDA selectively monitors a broad range of imported and domestic commodities.”
The FDA analyzed 4,737 from 111 foreign countries during FY 2015. Of those samples, 444, or 9.3 percent, had pesticide residues in excess of allowable limits. Overall, 90 percent of the foreign foods tested were within allowable U.S. limits.
However, the imported foods did better than U.S. foods tested in terms of being completely free of pesticide residues, with 56.8 percent of them in that category.
Publication date: 11/7/2017
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