FDA’s Latest Pesticide Residue Report Reaffirms Food Safety
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently published its annual report which summarizes the results of its pesticide monitoring program for the fiscal year 2017 (between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017). The findings show that the levels of pesticide chemical residue measured by the FDA in the U.S. food supply are generally in compliance with pesticide tolerances set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
FDA employs a three-fold strategy to enforce EPA’s pesticide tolerances in human and animal foods. In its regulatory pesticide residue monitoring program, FDA selectively monitors a broad range of domestic and import commodities for residues over 700 different pesticides.
During the period, the FDA conducted the “Collection of Selection Domestic and Imported Foods for Herbicides Analysis”. The regulatory body determined acid herbicide residue level in 228 samples, including eight root crops (potatoes, sweet potatoes) and six grain crops. No residue was found in 89% of the samples and none contained violative residues.
As part of its strategy, FDA may also carry out focused sampling surveys for specific commodities or selected pesticides of special interest. In addition, the FDA monitors the levels of pesticide chemical residues in foods prepared for consumption in its Total Diet Study (TDS), an ongoing program that monitors contaminants and nutrients in the average U.S. diet.
In FY 2017, the FDA analyzed 6,069 human food samples (1,799 domestic and 4,270 import samples) in its regulatory monitoring program. The samples were collected from 48 states and Puerto Rico, while the import samples came from 100 countries.
FDA found that 96.2% of domestic and 89.6% of import human foods were compliant with federal standards. No pesticide chemical residue was found in 52.5% of the domestic and 50% of the import samples that were analyzed.
The agency also analyzed 1,065 total samples in the TDS program in FY 2017. No foods contained violative pesticide levels. The most frequently-observed pesticide chemical residues are consistent with those reported in FY2016. Residues of 157 different pesticides were found in TDS foods, most frequently at trace levels. Of all the residues found in TDS foods, 87% were at levels below 0.01 part per million (ppm), and 2% were above 0.1ppm.