The USDA published its 2019 Pesticide Data Program’s Annual Summary recently. The report shows that nearly 99 percent of the tested samples had pesticide residues below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The two agencies work together every year to identify which foods get tested on a rotating basis. The Agricultural Marketing Service works with state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide residue levels of selected foods. In 2019, the agencies tested 9,697 samples of fresh and processed foods, including fruits and vegetables and rice and oats. USDA has tested various commodities for more than 25 years, which included tests on fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products, and water.
USDA tests a wide variety of domestic and imported foods, with a strong focus on food consumed by infants and children. The EPA relies on the Pesticide Data Program findings to conduct dietary risk assessments and ensure that any pesticide residues in foods remain at levels that EPA has determined to be safe. USDA uses the data to help American farmers improve agricultural practices and implement the Department’s Integrated Pest Management Program.
The Food and Drug Administration and EPA are notified immediately of any test showing residue levels that could pose a public safety risk.