Web Pages Simplify Complex Produce Safety Regulations

4/18/2017 10:51 AM

Information about laws and regulations governing the approval and use of organic and conventional pesticides is often confusing and complex.  That’s why the Alliance for Food and Farming created web pages that provide a comprehensive regulatory overview for pesticides used on both organic and conventional farms.  These pages combine this complex information from multiple government agencies in one place so you can learn more about regulations to protect consumers, farm workers as well as the environment.

Some information included in the section:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) follows a rigorous scientific evaluation process to register pesticides for use in agriculture production to ensure they will not harm human health, non-target species or the environment when used according to label instructions. These evaluations consider protection of infants and children as well as adults.
  • Organic farmers can only use natural or synthetic pesticides under the approval and regulation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program and if other strategies and cultural management practices fail to control pests and diseases.
  • Inspectors from the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state programs conduct regular sampling and monitoring programs to ensure that pesticide safety limits or “tolerances” are not exceeded.
  • FDA’s Pesticide Monitoring Program has for decades shown that more than 50 percent of samples from market basket testing have no detectable levels of pesticides. When levels were found by FDA, they were well below U.S. safety limits or tolerances.
  • The USDA findings released in January showed 99.8% of residues found, if present at all, were below established safety limits. These USDA findings show an exceptionally high level of compliance among farmers with all pesticide laws and regulations governing safety and protecting public health.

Further, an analysis by a toxicologist with the University of California Personal Chemical Exposure Program found that, if present, residues are so low a child could eat excessive amounts per day (often hundreds to thousands of servings) of a fruit or veggie and still not have any health effects from residues. 

Most importantly, farmers also feed their families what they grow so food safety is always the priority. As one third generation farmer stated, "I actually answer to a higher authority than the regulatory community, and that's my family who are the first to eat what I grow."

Read, learn, choose but eat more produce every day for better health and a longer life.

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