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USDA Finally Releases Overdue Pesticide Data

Four months after it was due, and under pressure from supporters of the Environmental Working Group, the USDA has released its annual analysis of pesticide residues on fresh fruits and vegetables this week without downplaying any of the findings.

With an intense lobbying campaign, the pesticide and produce industry pressured the USDA to minimize the findings of the test results and downplay consumer concerns about pesticides.

Part of the industry’s campaign was funded by federal taxpayer dollars through a $180,000 grant awarded by the California Department of Agriculture to support the pesticide front group, Alliance for Food and Farming, which claims that misuse of the pesticide data is to blame for decreased consumption of fruits and vegetables. The organization has more than 50 members including the lobbying group United Fresh, which represents produce growers and the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturers.

The USDA has not explained why the data took longer than usual to be released this year. The data tables are presented in the same way as past years, but the new information does include for the first time a two-page document titled: What Consumers Should Know.

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  • Greg

    Nice move on the part of the USDA to wash all the fruits and vegetables for 10 seconds before actually testing for pesticides…

    Quote from the USDA paper “What Consumers Should Know”:

    “The PDP laboratory methods used are geared to detect the smallest possible levels of pesticide residues, even when those levels are well below the safety margins (tolerances) established by EPA. Prior to testing, PDP analysts washed samples for 10 seconds with gently running cold water as a consumer would do at home; no chemicals, soap or any special wash was used.”

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