Of roughly 10,000 samples of mostly produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several state agricultural departments in 2013, more than 99% had pesticide residues below Environmental Protection Agency tolerances.
The sampling was part of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s annual Pesticide Data Program, according to a news release.
In 2013, samples were collected and analyzed in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Fresh and processed fruits and vegetables accounted for about 84% of the 10,104 total samples. Other samples included butter, infant formula, salmon and water.
Fresh and processed fruit and vegetables that were sampled included bananas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, green beans, mushrooms, nectarines, peaches, plums, raspberries and squash.
Because the data are used mainly for risk assessments, the laboratory methods are designed to detect the lowest possible pesticide residues, even if they were well below EPA tolerances.
In 2013, more than 40% of the samples tested had no detectable pesticide residue.
Excluding water samples, residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.23% (23 samples) of the total samples tested (9,990 samples).
Of those, 17 were imported and six were domestic.
Residues with no established tolerances were found in 3% — or 301 samples. Broken down, 151 were domestic, 148 were imported and two were of unknown origin.