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Much-anticipated USDA pesticide report finds little to alarm food safety advocates.

USDA on May 24 released its much-anticipated annual report on the amount of pesticide residue found on foods and in water, and said only a very small portion of the food samples tested had residues that exceeded EPA limits. The findings were similar to those issued in previous annual reports dating back more than 10 years.

This year's report was issued with a bit more drama than in the past, largely because the Environmental Working Group, a consumer organization, pointed out that the 2011 report was long overdue and intimated that pressure from pesticide manufacturers and users might be the reason for the delay.

The report contains data collected in 2009 from 12 states on pesticide residues on foods, including fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, beef, catfish, grains, and rice, as well as in groundwater and treated and untreated drinking water.

An examination of the tested food samples revealed that just 0.3 percent of them exceeded EPA-allowed levels of pesticide residues on foods also known as tolerances. However, 2.7 percent of the food samples had residues of pesticides for which there were no established tolerances in 2009.

None of the residues in water samples exceeded EPA maximum contaminant levels, health advisory levels, or established criteria for freshwater aquatic organisms, USDA said. The report is available online at this link.
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Publication:The Food & Fiber Letter
Date:Jun 13, 2011
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