Tag Archives: pesticide residue

strawberries

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List Unveiled: How Contaminated Is Produce?

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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strawberries

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its “Dirty Dozen”, a list of 12 produce items that contain the highest loads of pesticide residues. This year the organization analyzed tests conducted by the USDA, finding that nearly 70% of samples of 48 types of produce were contaminated with one or more pesticide residues, which remained even after the produce were washed (and peeled, in some instances). 178 pesticides and pesticide breakdown products were found on the samples that the USDA researchers analyzed.

“New federal data shows that conventionally grown spinach has more pesticide residues by weight than all other produce tested, with three-fourths of samples tested contaminated with a neurotoxic bug killer that is banned from use on food crops in Europe.” – EWG

For the following items that made this year’s list, EWG recommends always buying organic. Each food tested positive for several different pesticide residues, along with having higher concentrations of pesticides compared to other produce.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet bell peppers
  12. Potatoes

EWG also released a Clean 15 list, produce that was found to have “relatively few” pesticides and a low concentration of residue.

However, there are groups that dispute EWG’s list, because the ranking of produce has been found to have a negative effect on the consumption of produce, whether conventional or organic, especially among low-income consumers. “EWG’s list has been discredited by scientists, it is not based upon risk and has now been shown to potentially discourage consumption of healthy and safe organic and conventional fruits and vegetables,” said Teresa Thorne, Executive Director of the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) in a press release. She referred to analysis conducted by a toxicologist with the University of California’s Personal Chemical Exposure Program, which found that a child could eat excessive amounts of produce daily without any negative consequences from the pesticide residues. “For strawberries, a child could eat 181 servings or 1,448 strawberries in a day and still not have any effects from pesticide residues,” Thorne said. AFF also lists some of the regulations regarding pesticide use [http://safefruitsandveggies.com/regulations/organic] on its website.

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Pesticide Residues Not a Food Safety Risk, Says Federal Government

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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After publishing data from its 2014 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) earlier this week, the USDA has stated that it is not concerned with the level of pesticide chemical residues in the U.S. food supply. More than 99% of products sampled through the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program had residues below EPA tolerances (residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.36% of samples).

“The PDP plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has authority to take enforcement action when a food bears or contains unlawful pesticide chemical residues,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in a press release. “By providing an accurate assessment of pesticide levels in the most commonly consumed commodities in America, the PDP generally confirms the U.S. food supply is safe with respect to pesticide chemical residues.”

Among the foods tested were fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, oats, rice, and salmon. The findings from the PDP annual summary can be accessed via the USDA’s website.

Understanding Pesticide Residue and Maximum Residue Limits

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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The idea of controlling pests dates as far back as 2500 B.C. From using soaps to copper sulfate to DDT, industry has evolved in how it controls pests in agricultural crops. In a video shot at Food Safety Tech’s 2015 Food Labs conference earlier this year, Angela Carlson of SGS discusses the regulations involving maximum residue limits (MRLs) as well as how MRLs are set at a global level.