The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) has released its sampling results from 2020.
The report found that when pesticide residues are discovered on foods, more than 99 percent of the time they are at levels below the safety level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); this is if residues are present at all.
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," says the report. The PDP has been updated for 30 years, and represents one of the largest sources of food pesticide residue data available.
The PDP tests a large variation of domestic and imported foods, with a heavy focus on foods that are consumed by infants and children. The EPA relies on PDP data to conduct dietary risk assessments and to review the maximum amount of pesticide that should be allowed to remain in or on a food.
The results from the PDP show a high level of compliance among farmers with the tough laws and regulations governing the use of pesticides on organic and conventional farms.
The PDP is not designed for enforcement of EPA pesticide residue tolerances. Rather, FDA is responsible for enforcing EPA tolerances. The PDP provides FDA and EPA with monthly reports of pesticide residue testing and informs FDA if residues detected exceed the EPA tolerance or have no EPA tolerance established.
To collect the data in this report, the PDP works with state agencies representing all census regions of the country and nearly half of the U.S. population. In 2020, analyzed samples were collected in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
For more information about the PDP, please visit USDA's website at https://www.ams.usda.gov/datasets/pdp.