1400 Independence Avenue, SW.
Room 3071-S, STOP 0201
Washington, DC 20250-0201
Agricultural Marketing Service
To the Reader:
I am pleased to present the Pesticide Data Program’s (PDP) 19th Annual Summary for calendar year 2009. The U.S. Department of Agriculture implemented the PDP in 1991 to test food commodities for pesticide residues. The data produced by the PDP are used to estimate consumer dietary exposure to pesticides and the relationship of those exposures to science-based standards of safety. This report shows that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Using a rigorous statistical approach to sampling along with the most current laboratory methods, the PDP tests a wide variety of domestic and imported foods. Foods tested include fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, grains, catfish, rice, specialty products, and water.
The 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) directs the Secretary of Agriculture to collect pesticide residue data on foods that are highly consumed, particularly by infants and children. This law also established a strict health-based standard for a "reasonable certainty of no harm" for pesticide residues in food to ensure consumer protection from unacceptable pesticide exposure. The EPA uses the PDP data as a critical component for dietary assessments of pesticide exposure, a critical step to verify that all sources of exposure to pesticides meet the safety standards set by the 1996 FQPA.
The PDP is a voluntary program and is not designed for enforcement of EPA tolerances. However, we inform the U.S. Food and Drug Administration if residues detected exceed the EPA tolerance or have no EPA tolerance established. In 2009, residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.3 percent of the samples tested, and residues with no established tolerance were found in 2.7 percent of the samples.
The PDP works with Cooperating State agencies that are responsible for sample collection and analysis. Twelve States participated in the program during 2009: California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. These States represent all regions of the country and more than half of the U.S. population.
For more information please visit our website at www.ams.usda.gov or the EPA at
This report shows that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels • below the tolerances established by EPA.
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.
PDP informs the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) if residues detected • exceed the EPA tolerance or have no EPA tolerance established. In 2009, residues exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.3 percent of all samples tested and residues with no established tolerance were found in 2.7 percent of the samples.
The report shows that none of the residue detections in the finished water samples • exceeded established EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels, Health Advisory levels, or established Freshwater Aquatic Organism criteria.