What Consumers Should Know - 2016 Pesticide Data Program Report

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These Pesticide Data Program (PDP) results show that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to the USDA, the PDP results show that the U.S. food supply is one of the safest in the world.

  • The PDP data show, overall, that pesticide residues on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pose no safety concern.
  • Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested for pesticide residues on a rotating basis. In 2015, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods, including fresh and processed fruit and vegetables and peanut butter.
  • PDP data reflect actual residues present in food grown in various regions of the United States and overseas.
  • PDP data are essential in supporting efforts by the USDA and EPA to assess the American consumer’s dietary exposure to pesticide residues.
  • EPA makes a safety evaluation for pesticides considering all possible routes of exposure through food, water, and home environments when setting the maximum residue (tolerance) level of pesticide that can remain in or on foods.
  • Before a pesticide is available for use in the United States, the EPA must determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.
  • The PDP testing methods detect the lowest possible levels of pesticide residues, including levels below the EPA established tolerances.
  • PDP informs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if residues detected exceed the EPA established tolerance or have no EPA tolerance established. The PDP residue results are reported to FDA and EPA through monthly reports. In instances where a PDP finding is extraordinary and may pose a safety risk, FDA and EPA are notified immediately.
  • EPA is required to periodically re-evaluate pesticide registrations and tolerances to ensure that the scientific data remain up to date. The PDP provides data for the periodic re-evaluation of food tolerances.
  • EPA regulates pesticide use under two Federal statutes: the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) of 1947, which regulates pesticide registrations in the United States, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) of 1938, under which EPA establishes tolerances for pesticide residues in food. The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 amended these two pesticide laws to mandate a single, health-based standard for all pesticides in all foods.
  • FDA enforces EPA residue tolerances for all foods except domestically raised meat and poultry. FDA publishes its pesticide program data at http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants....