Pesticide Residues in Food
Before a pesticide can be used on a food crop, the U.S. EPA must determine whether that pesticide can be used without posing an unreasonable risk to human health. After a risk assessment process, they determine the pesticide tolerance, which is the maximum amount of pesticide residue that can legally remain in or on a particular food.
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) monitors and enforces pesticide tolerances in raw agricultural commodities and processed foods. Tolerances for meat, poultry and some egg products are monitored and enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Both domestic and imported food commodities are subject to these regulations.
What does this mean for consumers?
Pesticide residues on the food we eat are highly regulated. Although some residues may remain at the time of harvest, residues tend to decline as the pesticide breaks down over time. In addition, as the commodities are washed and processed prior to sale the residues often diminish further. There are several steps consumers can take to further reduce any pesticide residue that may remain on your food after purchase.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (7:30am-3:30pm PST), or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assessing Health Risks from Pesticides - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Pesticides and Food: What the Pesticide Residue Limits are on Food - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Protecting The Public From Pesticide Residues In Food - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Pesticide Residue Monitoring and Food Safety - Cornell University
- Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 40 - Pesticide Programs : Part 180 - Tolerances and Exemption from Tolerances for Pesticide Chemicals in Food (for updates go to www.regulations.gov) - Government Printing Office (GPO)
- Food and Feed Commodity Vocabulary - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996 - Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Pesticide Residue Monitoring Reports - Food and Drug Association (FDA)
- Pesticide Residues in Food and Feed - Enforcement Criteria - Food and Drug Association (FDA)
- Pesticide Analytical Manual (PAM) - Food and Drug Association (FDA)
- Pesticide Data Program (Residue Monitoring Reports) - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)