What Consumers Should Know About Pesticides and the Food They Eat

2014 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has released the summary from 2014 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary.  The data confirms that overall pesticide chemical residues found on the foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern.

The (PDP) is a national pesticide residue monitoring program that administers the sampling, testing, and reporting of pesticide residues on agricultural commodities in the U.S. food supply, with an emphasis on those commodities highly consumed by infants and children.

The following information can be found at What Consumers Should Know – 2014 PDP Summary (pdf)

What Consumers Should Know

  • These Pesticide Data Program (PDP) data show that, overall, pesticide residues found 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, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis. In 2014, surveys were conducted on a variety of foods, including fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, oats, rice, infant formula, and salmon.
  • PDP data reflect actual residues present in food grown in various regions of the United States and overseas.
  • 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 tolerances.
  • PDP informs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if residues detected exceed the EPA 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.
  • PDP data are essential in supporting efforts by the USDA and EPA to assess the American consumer’s dietary exposure to pesticide residues.
  • 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. Agricultural Marketing Service 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-0201 Voice (202) 720-8998 Fax (202) 720-7135 An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer
  • 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 www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/Pesticides/default.htm

Additional Resources:

Agricultural Marketing Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250-0201
Voice (202) 720-8998
Fax (202) 720-7135
An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer