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Amid mounting concerns about the potential health risks from widespread use of pesticides, U.S. regulators indicate that the amount of residue found in human and animal food remains below the federal safety limits.
In a report published by the FDA, researchers indicate that 90% of samples tested from human food contained levels of pesticides that were well below limits considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The FDA issued the Final results of the latest Pesticide Monitoring Report on October 1, including data from foods collected in 2016. The agency evaluates foods annually for pesticide residue, and the final results are released following a quality assurance process.
Investigators tested more than 7,400 samples, including 6,946 human foods and 467 animal foods. The agency collected imported food samples from 98 countries and domestic human food samples from 46 states.
More than 99% of domestic and 90% of import human foods were within federal safety standards for pesticides, the agency reports. No pesticide chemical residue was detected in 53% of domestic food and 51% of imported food samples tested.
The report also indicates about 98% of animal food samples were within federal safety standards for pesticides. Investigators found 43% of domestic animal food and 55% of import animal food samples had no pesticide chemical residues.
The research contradicts a number of findings from other independent studies, which have found that many foods contain high levels of pesticides, which may pose health risks for Americans.
A report released last year listed a number of common foods laden with the most chemicals, citing strawberries as one of the worst offenders with more than 10 types of pesticides found on the fruit.
Other studies have linked pesticide exposure to increased risk of cancer in children and a 25% increased risk of autism among children who were exposed to aerial pesticides. A UCLA study concluded pesticides increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
The FDA indicates it samples food products yearly in order to take action on companies that are selling foods with violative levels of pesticides. Once a company is identified, the FDA can issue warning letters, seize property, and issue import alerts against the grower/manufacturer to remove the food from commerce.