The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Aug. 10 issued its annual Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Report for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) that summarizes the testing of FDA-regulated foods for pesticide residues, with results showing the vast majority of samples being in compliance with pesticide tolerances established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The report indicates FDA tested 2,078 human foods and 102 animal foods during the time period of Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020 for approximately 750 different pesticides and selected industrial compounds.
The number of samples obtained and tested during FY 2020 was approximately 50 % fewer than FY 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In FY 2020, FDA found that 96.8 % of domestic and 88.4 percent of import human foods were compliant with pesticide tolerances set by EPA. No pesticide residues were found in 40.8 % of the domestic samples and 48.4 % of the import samples. For animal food, the agency found that 100 percent of domestic and 96.8 % of import animal food samples were compliant with pesticide tolerances. No pesticide residues were found in 30.0 % of the domestic and 48.4 % of the import animal food samples.
FDA considers food samples to be violative if:
• They contain a pesticide chemical residue above an existing EPA tolerance; or
• They contain a pesticide chemical residue for which the EPA has not established a tolerance or a tolerance exemption for the specific pesticide/commodity combination
FDA’s monitoring program selectively evaluates a broad range of domestic and import commodities for residues of different pesticides and selected industrial compounds. The agency also conducts focused sampling surveys for specific commodities or selected pesticides of special interest. For example, FDA monitors the levels of pesticide chemical residues in foods prepared for consumption in its Total Diet Study (TDS), an ongoing program that monitors contaminants and nutrients in the average U.S. diet.
More information about FDA’s pesticide monitoring program and previous years’ reports are available on the agency’s website.