The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today published the 2018 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary. The summary shows more than 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues well below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA sets these benchmarks to ensure that pesticide residues remain at levels that EPA has determined to be safe in or on foods for human consumption.
Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested on a revolving basis by the PDP. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide residue levels on a wide variety of domestic and imported foods, with a special focus on foods that are consumed by infants and children. For over 25 years, USDA has tested a variety of commodities, including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products and water. In 2018, tests were conducted on fruits and vegetables as well as rice, wheat flour and heavy cream. EPA relies on PDP data to conduct dietary risk assessments and to set its benchmark residue levels for pesticides in or on foods.
The annual pesticide residue results are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and EPA in monthly reports as testing takes place throughout the year. FDA and EPA are notified at the time of discovery if a PDP test result identifies residue levels that could pose a public safety risk.