Feb 4, 2024
USDA releases report on pesticide residues

The USDA has released its Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report focused on 2022 sampling results, which shows that more than 99% of all foods sampled had residues well below Environmental Protection Agency safety standards, if residues were present at all.

These findings are consistent with previous years, according to the Alliance for Food and Farming, confirming the level of compliance among farmers with pesticide use laws and regulations, as well as how safe fruits and vegetables are. According to USDA, “based on the PDP data, consumers can feel confident about eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Photo courtesy Alliance for Food and Farming.

The USDA uses the Pesticide Data Program to better understand the relationship of pesticide residues to agricultural practices and to implement USDA’s Integrated Pest Management objectives.

“USDA also works with U.S. growers to improve agricultural practices and to facilitate the adoption of integrated pest management techniques, including judicious use of pesticides, throughout the food supply chain,” according to the USDA.

“The PDP provides high-quality, nationally representative pesticide residue data that contribute to the information available to help ensure consumer confidence in the foods they provide to their families.”

“As we celebrate this very positive report, we also continually lament the lack of media and public attention on these results over the years, which is concerning since this is a comprehensive program with an emphasis on ensuring the safety of foods consumed by infants and children,” according to an Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) news release.

AFF research shows that almost 80% of consumers surveyed found the USDA PDP report results made them confident about the safety of produce. Seventy-eight percent of consumers also agreed “that government regulations and other food safety efforts are working well to protect public health.”

Only one in 10 Americans eat enough of these nutrient-dense foods every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Peer-reviewed research has shown that safety fears perpetuated by certain groups are among the barriers to increased consumption, according to the AFF.

“Consumers should have access to truthful and credible information about produce safety so they can make the right shopping choices for themselves and their families,” according to the AFF release. “The lack of attention to the USDA PDP report increases our vulnerability to disinformation from groups who benefit from promoting safety inaccuracies about the more accessible and affordable fruits and vegetables.”

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