FDA Report Findings Complement USDA PDP, State Sampling Results

11/10/2017 1:46 PM

Last week the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released 2015 sampling data results which found 98% of the foods sampled had pesticide residue levels below tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency and about 50% of all sampled foods had no detectable residues at all.

Sound familiar?  That’s because the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Pesticide Data Program had similar results.  USDA found that 99.8% of foods sampled had no detectable residues or the levels found were well below EPA tolerance levels.  These results have led the USDA to repeatedly state that residues do not pose a concern for consumer health.

And, complementing those federal sampling programs are state programs which conduct their own sampling.  In California, where a majority of the fruits and veggies are grown, the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s annual sampling program found that 97% of foods sampled had residues below EPA tolerances with 40% of the samples showing no detectable residues at all.

We apologize if this blog’s content has become a bit statistically repetitive.  But, it’s important to look at this trend since consumers are often completely unaware of the real results of the federal and state sampling programs.  Instead, what consumers do read or hear about produce safety comes from activist groups who take these positive results, manipulate the data and turn it into something negative and rather scary, like the so-called “dirty dozen” list.   This data manipulation by activists lacks scientific integrity and transparency and, apparently, is done without regard to the potential impact on consumers.

You see two peer reviewed studies are showing that inaccurate produce safety information may be discouraging  fruit and vegetable consumption, especially among low income consumers.  In one study published in Nutrition Today, researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Center for Nutrition Research surveyed low income consumers to learn more about what terms and information about fruits and vegetables may influence their shopping intentions.  Among the key findings, misleading messaging which inaccurately describes certain fruits and vegetables as having “higher” pesticide residues results in low income shoppers reporting that they would be less likely to purchase any fruits and vegetables – organic or conventional. 

Since fruits and veggies are the only food group health experts universally agree we should all eat more of every day for better health and longer lives, it seems that consumers should receive more information about these federal and state sampling programs which are designed to ensure that the foods we all eat are safe.  Hopefully, more reporters, editors and bloggers will agree and take some time to report on the latest FDA report.  If not, new USDA PDP findings are coming soon.  

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