Washington, DC - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday issued the final results of its annual Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program from foods collected in FY 2016 and found that the vast majority of samples were below the tolerance levels set by the EPA. FDA evaluates foods annually for pesticide residues. Final results from that survey are released on a lagging basis, after they have gone through a thorough quality assurance process.
In FY 2016 (October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016), the FDA analyzed 7,413 samples in its regulatory monitoring program: 6,946 human foods and 467 animal foods. We collected import human food samples from 98 countries and domestic human food samples from 46 states and U.S. territories. The FDA found that over 99 % of domestic and 90 % of import human foods were compliant with federal standards. Further, no pesticide chemical residues were found in 52.9 % of the domestic and 50.7 % of the import samples that we analyzed.
In FY 2016, the FDA also analyzed 467 animal food samples (242 domestic and 225 import) for pesticides. The Agency found that over 98 % of the animal food samples were compliant with federal standards. No pesticide chemical residues were found in 43.0 % of the domestic and 54.7 % of the import animal food samples.
In FY 2016, the FDA also conducted pesticide analyses for a special assignment, the “Collection of Selected Domestic and Imported Foods for Herbicides Analysis” (Herbicides) assignment, using two new selective residue methods (SRMs) for the analysis of the herbicides glyphosate and glufosinate and 30 selected acid herbicides. We analyzed for glyphosate and glufosinate residue levels in 274 grain corn, 267 soybean, 113 milk, and 106 egg samples. No samples contained violative levels of glyphosate or glufosinate; and no residues were found in the milk and egg samples. Non-violative levels of glyphosate were found in 173 (63.1%) of the corn samples and 178 (67.0%) of the soybean samples and non-violative levels of glufosinate were found in 4 (1.4%) of the corn samples and 3 (1.1%) soybean samples.
We determined no residues were found in 88.0 % (784) of the 891 samples for other acid herbicide residue levels, including six grain crops (corn, soybeans, barley, rice, wheat, and oats) and eight root crops (potatoes, turnips, sugar beets, peanuts, carrots, radishes, beets, and sweet potatoes). Two soybean samples (0.7 %) contained violative residues.
When the FDA identifies a violative sample in a domestic or imported food, the agency can take an enforcement action such as a warning letter, seizure or import alert against the responsible grower/manufacturer to remove the food from commerce or pursue an injunction to correct the cause of the violation. In addition to the pesticide report, the FDA monitors the levels of pesticide chemical residues in foods prepared for consumption in its Total Diet Study (TDS), an ongoing program that monitors contaminants and nutrients in the average American’s diet.