How Much Pesticide Residue on Your Produce? FDA Doesn't Know

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How Much Pesticide Residue on Your Produce? FDA Doesn't Know

New GAO report reveals FDA doing scant testing for pesticides

The Center for Biological Diversity says FDA has "dropped the ball when it comes to pesticides." (Photo:  Dean Hochman/flickr/cc)

The Food and Drug Administration is carrying out little testing for pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables, a new report by a federal watchdog reveals.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (pdf) found that in 2012, the FDA tested less than one-tenth of 1 percent of imported shipments.

FDA does not test for some commonly used pesticides—like glyphosate—for which the EPA has established tolerance levels, nor does FDA disclose in its annual reports that it doesn't do this testing, the GAO analysis states.

In addition, GAO charges, "FDA does not use statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget standards to collect national information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues."

The Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation organization, says the report shows that inadequate safeguards are in place and urged the FDA to take appropriate action.

"The FDA is supposed to be protecting the American people from dangers in their food and it’s clear they’ve dropped the ball when it comes to pesticides," Lori Ann Burd, endangered species campaign director for the organization, said in a statement.

"As scientists continue to uncover information regarding the harmful effects of pesticides on human health and the environment, the American public deserves to be able to rely on FDA to provide the basic monitoring required to protect the health of people, wildlife and our waterways," Burd added.

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