New FDA Report On Pesticide Level In Fruits And Vegetables Increases Public Health Concerns
In September, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released its latest analysis of the pesticide residue found in fruits, vegetables, and other food eaten by Americans, and the data suggests that there’s reason for concern that such residues can lead to illness, disease, and even reproductive problems in those who consume them.
“Over 55 pages of data, charts and graphs, the FDA’s ‘Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program’ report also provides a rather unappetizing example of the degree to which U.S. farmers have come to rely on synthetic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides in growing our food.
“We learn, for instance, in reading the latest report, that traces of pesticides were found in 84 percent of domestic samples of fruits, and 53 percent of vegetables, as well as 42 percent of grains and 73 percent of food samples simply listed as ‘other.’ The samples were drawn from around the country, including from California, Texas, Kansas, New York and Wisconsin.”
Pesticide residue was found in the vast majority of the fruit tested, 94 percent of grapes, grape juice, and raisins had such residue, as did 99 percent of all the strawberries tested. 88 percent of apples and 33 percent of rice products had pesticide residue on them, according to the FDA report.
However, imported fruits and vegetables had significantly less pesticide residue, with only 52 percent of fruits and 46 percent of vegetables from abroad testing positive for pesticides. Those samples came from more than 40 countries, including Canada, China, India, and Mexico.
But perhaps the most concerning revelation from the FDA analysis is that DDT, which has been banned in the United States for decades, was also found on some fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. DDT has been directly linked to breast cancer, infertility, and miscarriage.
Another banned substance, chlorpyrifos, was also found by the FDA:
“Chlorpyrifos is so dangerous that the European Food Safety Authority has recommended a ban of the chemical in Europe, finding that there is no safe exposure level.”
And yet, despite these disturbing findings, the FDA has repeatedly said that pesticide residue is harmless and should be of no concern to American consumers.
The agrichemical industry and their allies also attacked the FDA findings, releasing their own report which downplayed the concerns raised by the annual FDA analysis:
“The report, which was issued Oct. 21, stated that ‘there is no direct scientific or medical evidence indicating that typical exposure of consumers to pesticide residues poses any health risk. Pesticide residue data and exposure estimates typically demonstrate that food consumers are exposed to levels of pesticide residues that are several orders of magnitude below those of potential health concern.'”
However, the validity of that report is in question as the three authors of it have extensive ties to the agrichemical industry. Here’s a quick rundown of the authors:
- Steve Savage, is an agrichemical industry consultant and also worked for DuPont.
- Carol Burns is a former scientist for Dow Chemical and current consults for Cortevia Agriscience, which is a spin-off of DowDuPont.
- Carl Winter is chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis, which accepts funding from the agrichemical industry.
There can be no doubt that there is indeed pesticide residue in the food we eat. And there can also be no doubt that such chemicals have been shown to have a negative effect on the health of humans. The only question remaining is how much of this poison we’re willing to consume and feed to our families.
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