The most recent pesticide report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates that residue levels remain low. FDA tested for 812 pesticides and industrial chemicals across 4,692 total samples. The results were recently released in FDA’s annual Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Report for FY 2019. Overall, the results reflected a consistent trend of minimal pesticide residue violations over the previous eight years.
Nearly 99 percent of all domestic foods that were tested were well below the safety standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to FDA, the findings in the report “demonstrate that the levels of pesticide chemical residues are generally below the EPA’s tolerances and are therefore at levels that do not pose a concern for public health.” Of the imported samples that were tested as part of the report, 89.1 percent of the 3,069 samples taken were in compliance with federal standards. Over 42 percent of domestic food samples and nearly 50 percent of imported foods were found to have no pesticide residues at all.
Under the Domestically Produced Animal-Derived Foods sampling assignment, FDA looked at 153 samples of domestic milk, shell eggs, honey, and meat. Only three out of the 62 honey samples collected were shown to have pesticide residue violations. FDA also collected samples from animal foods and presented the information in the pesticide report. The findings showed that 98.4 percent of the 127 domestic samples that were tested were in compliance. Similarly, 95.4 percent of the 238 imported animal foods samples were also in compliance. No residue levels were found in 40.9 percent of domestic samples and 43.7 imported samples.
Domestic violations of residue standards can result in warning letters being issued, as well as other actions such as removal of products from the market, or an injunction for corrective action. Imported items have historically had higher violation rates than domestic foods, warranting a higher percentage of commodities to be sampled. When imported foods violate federal standards, the company and food may be placed on an Import Alert to prevent the items from entering the country.