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California state officials find Monterey County kale, beets & strawberries exceeded pesticide limits

Months after a court ordered a ban on chlorpyrifos sales, a pesticide linked with neurological deficits in children, state officials reported they found chlorpyrifos-contaminated fruits and vegetables for sale in California.

Additionally, some Monterey County-grown produce the California Department of Pesticide Regulation tested in 2018 contained illegal amounts of other pesticide residue.

The CDPR's annual study, in its 90th year, attempts to prevent "public exposure to illegal residues" by removing produce containing illegal pesticide residues from grocery store shelves.  The CDPR found 149 pieces of produce out of the 3,695 it tested contained illegal pesticide residue, amounting to four percent of produce tested. Using data collected in 2017, the CDPR found residue on strawberries, kale and beets grown in Monterey County.

Ten percent of beets tested, all of which came from Monterey County, contained illegal amounts of pesticide residue. Kale from three counties, including Monterey, followed close behind at seven percent, and one percent of strawberries, also all grown in Monterey County, were found to be illegally contaminated.

Furthermore, the CDPR found 12 instances of illegal contamination by chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxin EPA scientists recommended to ban in 2016 and 2017. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, it can be harmful if touched, inhaled, or eaten.


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