Pesticides in Food Not Being Adequately Tested for By FDA says Government Report

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In a recent Government Accountability Office report, the bureau found that the FDA is not conducting enough testing for pesticides in food on both domestic and imported foods – and it’s posing safety issues for Americans.

According to the GAO report, the FDA is only testing for pesticides in food in a significantly small amount of samples: less than one-tenth of one percent on imported fruits and vegetables, and less than one percent on domestic fruits and vegetables.

According to the Washington Post:

Federal auditors said the agency’s pesticide testing program is not “statistically valid,” making it impossible for it to meet one of its mandates, which is to “determine the national incidence and level of pesticide residues in the foods it regulates.

The report also questioned the FDA and the USDA’s practice of not testing for pesticide residue from routinely used pesticides that must meet regulations on allowable amounts. “Auditors were critical of FDA and the USDA for failing to disclose this limitation in their annual reports,” the Post noted.

“Although FDA and USDA are not legally required to test for specific pesticides, they are responsible for enforcing maximum residue limits that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency,” the Post explained. “When limits are violated, food products are subject to seizure.”

The FDA responded to the GAO report, stating that it would take into consideration the creation of an improved testing model so that “statistically significant” outcomes were more accessible. But the agency said that it would not disclose the names of the pesticides that it routinely tests for. According to the Post, it said to do so would make it easier for pesticide users to evade the testing program.

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Image: RLHyde

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.