New Pesticide Residue Monitoring Report Further Illustrates Safety of Produce

8/31/2011 1:00 PM


The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDPR) has just released 2010 data from the state’s Pesticide Residue Monitoring program.  Keep in mind this monitoring program, designed to ensure that fruits and vegetables sold in the state of California are safe for consumption when it comes to pesticide residues levels, is in addition to the nation-wide monitoring program conducted through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program. 

Like the national monitoring results, the California Pesticide Residue Monitoring program finds that the majority (64.8 percent) of produce sold in California during 2010 has no detectable pesticide residues at all.  The report shows that 32 percent of the samples contained residues below allowable limits, leaving 2.4 percent with residues above legal limits – and CDPR scientists stress even these residues do not pose an acute health risk.

The CDPR monitoring program considers all produce sold in California, including imports from other countries and states, but sampling data can be sorted according to point of origin.  For produce produced within the state of California, known to have the most stringent regulations for pesticide use in the world, the numbers are even better. The 110 California-grown products tested by CDPR showed 98.6 percent had either no detected residue or residues below legal limits, leaving just 0.4 percent with residues above what is considered legal.

This report is just one more reason consumers should feel confident about the safety of fruits and vegetables they eat and feed to their families.  The Alliance for Food and Farming, working with Dr. Robert Krieger, a respected toxicologist from the University of California, Riverside, has created a calculator to illustrate how small any pesticides found on fruits and vegetables really are.  Visit our website at to calculate just how many servings of your favorite produce item you can eat without any effect whatsoever from pesticides.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation also provides a fact sheet on its website explaining how fruits and vegetables are tested for safety. They reiterate that food safety experts agree any small risk from trace levels of pesticides found in produce should not keep you from the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

According to a recent press release, CDPR also has plans to expand its monitoring further using improved technologies to detect newer pesticides that had previously been difficult to detect with older methods.  The cost of the DPR monitoring program is currently $4.5 million per year and will be expanded by an additional $2.5 million to include the new detection methods.  In cash-strapped California, it is important to note that the California pesticide data program is paid for by a tax on companies who sell pesticides.  Please visit the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s website to learn more.    

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