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January 15, 2016

USDA Report Confirms that Pesticide Levels Pose No Risk

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) released this week, overall pesticide residue levels on fresh produce and others foods are below established tolerances and do not pose a safety concern for U.S. food.

The program’s 2014 annual summary shows that more than 99 percent of products sampled had residues below Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerances, while 41 percent had no residues at all. Residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in only 0.36 percent of the samples tested.

Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. The USDA tested for pesticides in 10,619 samples of food in 2014:

  • 8,582 samples of fruits and vegetables
  • 314 samples of oats
  • 314 samples of rice
  • 1,055 samples of infant formula
  • 354 samples of salmon

As they have done in past years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is expected to manipulate the data in the PDP report to use in its annual “Dirty Dozen” list. The list, which is expected to be released soon, is used by the group as a thinly-veiled fundraising tool. Unfortunately, instead of serving an educational purpose, the report only confuses consumers about pesticide residues and actually scares them into consuming fewer fruits and vegetables.

Even though the industry, in conjunction with the Alliance for Food and Farming, still works to counter the EWG’s fear mongering by disseminating the correct facts about fresh produce safety, main stream coverage of the report has all but disappeared over the years, signaling the media’s growing demand for science-based findings.

Interestingly, Forbes published an article yesterday examining fear-based marketing and the tactics used by groups such as the EWG to advance their agendas and initiatives.

Click here to read Forbes’ “How Marketers Use Fear Of Chemicals For Profit: 3 Easy Steps.”

For more information, contact Matt McInerney at (949) 885-2270.