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Federal report finds no pesticide residue in most fruits, vegetables

March 18, 2014
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The latest report on pesticide use in farming released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has shown that fruits and vegetables produced in the United States are "exceedingly safe" and contain no pesticide residue that could be a threat to public health.

The annual Pesticide Data Program collects data on various food products on a rotating basis, concentrating on foods that are frequently consumed by infants and children. The latest data covers a series of products tested in 2012, including fruits and vegetables -- both fresh and processed -- as well as wheat, butter and water. Results reveal that over 99 percent of the samples taken by USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contained pesticide residue below the maximum levels set by federal standards. The agency uses the data collected annually to improve its food safety programs.

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In 0.53 percent of the food samples residue levels above tolerance levels were detected. According to the Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the samples, there were a total of 63 tolerance violations. The most problematic foods turned out to be cherry tomatoes and snap peas, in which higher levels of methamidiphos and acephate were detected. Still, the EPA stated that the presence of pesticide residue above tolerance levels was not concerning and the products were still safe for consumers, Food Safety News reported.

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