Most U.S. food complies with pesticide residue limits, study finds

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Most U.S. food complies with pesticide residue limits, study finds

A recent study released by the U.S. Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) shows more than 99% of food sold in the country has pesticide residues within the tolerance levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fruit mix sq

In the 2012 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) survey, it was found that 0.53% of the samples had excess residue rates, or in other words one in 189 food products sold has more pesticide remains than the standards set by the U.S. government.

"This report shows that overall pesticide residues found in foods are at levels below the tolerances set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," the report said.

"The PDP provides reliable data that helps assure consumers that the produce they feed their families is safe," the report said.

"Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide is not safe for our families, it is removed from the market. This system of checks and balances provides Americans with the safest food supply in the world."

In terms of percentages, the U.S. has a much better level of compliance than in the European Union, where 97% of samples in a recent study fell within maximum residue limits (MRLs) set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

However, suppliers in the European market have to do the limbo under a much lower bar. A random sample of comparisons of EFSA and EPA pesticide limits collected by showed authorities on the old continent are substantially stricter.

As an example, the EFSA sets an MRL of 0.02ppm (parts per million, equal to mg/kg as denoted) of methomyl for pomegranates, while the in the U.S. the maximum tolerance is 10 times that amount at 0.2ppm.

EU standards are also 10 times stricter for diuron levels in pineapples for example, with an MRL of 0.01ppm compared to the EPA's 0.1ppm.

For other products and pesticides the differences are lower, such as a permitted 0.1ppm permissibility for glyphosate in avocados sold in Europe, compared to the 0.2ppm allowed in the U.S. For mancozeb residues on bananas, the EFSA only allows up to 2ppm while the EPA permits 4ppm.

The relationship is not always stricter on the eastern side of the Atlantic however, with the European Union allowing 10 times more bifenazate in plums, at a rate of 2ppm compared to the EPA's 0.2ppm.



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