Friday, November 07, 2014

FDA doing poor job of testing foods for pesticide levels, Government Accountability Office says

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not conduct enough testing on pesticide residue on foreign and domestic foods to determine whether or not the food safe, says a report from the Government Accountability Office, Kimberly Kindy reports for The Washington Post.

The report said that FDA "is testing less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all imported fruits and vegetables and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables," Kindy writes. "Federal auditors said the agency’s pesticide testing program is not 'statistically valid,' making it impossible for it to meet one of its mandates, which is to 'determine the national incidence and level of pesticide residues in the foods it regulates.'”

Another concern raised by the report was about decisions by the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture "not to test for many commonly-used pesticides for which the federal government has set strict residue limits," Kindy writes. "Auditors were critical of FDA and the USDA for failing to disclose this limitation in their annual reports."

"USDA tests for pesticide residue in poultry, meat and processed egg products," Kindy writes. "Although FDA and USDA are not legally required to test for specific pesticides, they are responsible for enforcing maximum residue limits that are set by the Environmental Protection Agency. When limits are violated, food products are subject to seizure." (Read more)

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