FOOD SAFETY
                                                               PESTICIDE RESIDUES

        PRESSURE        STATE                       EFFECTS                                              SOCIETAL RESPONSE

                                        Body        Human/       Ecological/                                            Actions by                    TYPE A
       Discharges/      Ambient                                                                      Regulatory
                                       Burden/     Ecological     Human                              Responses           Regulated
       Emissions       Conditions      Uptake      Health Risk     Health                                               Community                     TYPE B
           Level 3        Level 4        Level 5     Level 6       Level 7                               Level 1           Level 2
                                                                                                                                                      TYPE C
                                    Outcomes                                                                     Outputs

Indicator: Percent of Foods Sampled with Pesticide Residues that Violated or
           Were Presumed to Violate Tolerances
Most of the food produced for human consumption is grown                                      •          From 1991 to 1998, less than 0.2% of all sampled foods
using pesticides. Chemical control of weeds, insects, fungi and                                          had residues that violated established tolerances.
rodents has allowed the pesticide-using world to intensify
agriculture and increase its productivity. However, these                                     •          In 1999, the percent of all sampled foods having
economic benefits are not without their risks to human and                                               residues that violated established tolerances increased
environmental health. Because pesticides are so widely used in                                           to 0.3%.
agriculture, they may remain as residues on fruits, vegetables,
grains and other foods. These pesticide residues are a public                                 •          However, in 2000 the percent of all sampled foods
health concern because, in certain doses, pesticides are known to                                        having residues that violated established standards went
cause acute and chronic health effects. To prevent the                                                   back down to 0.2% percent.
occurrence of these adverse health effects, the EPA sets a                                    •          Despite a generally high trend in the percent of foods
tolerance, which is the amount of pesticide residue allowed to                                           sampled that violated or were presumed to violate
remain on a food commodity. A violation occurs when a residue                                            tolerances between 1995 and 1999, in 2000 the
is detected that exceeds the tolerance or when a residue is found                                        percentage decrease substantially.
for which there is no tolerance set for that specific crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program                                               Percent of Foods Sampled that Violated or
(PDP) is charged with monitoring and collecting data on                                                     Were Presumed to Violate Tolerances
pesticide residues on food. Since 1991, the PDP has tested                                                               1993-2000
fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and processed products for                                        6%
residues of more than 160 different pesticides. The PDP relies
on random sampling of food commodities to provide realistic                                         5%

estimates of the population’s exposure to pesticide chemicals.
                                                                               Percent of Samples

The chart displays the foods sampled by the PDP from 1993 to                                                                                                       Tolerance
2000 that had residues that violated or were presumed to violate                                    3%
                                                                                                                                                                   No Established
(i.e., no tolerance level was established for that crop) tolerances.                                2%


                                                                                                          1993   1994    1995   1996   1997   1998   1999   2000
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, 1993-2000

Scale: Data are collected from select states and aggregated to illustrate national

Data Characteristics and Limitations: PDP samples are collected by 10
participating States, which represent all regions of the country and 50% of the
national population. Samples are collected close to the point of consumption, at
end markets and large chain store distribution centers. The PDP’s sampling
strategy is statistically reliable and allows for realistic estimation of pesticide
residues in the total food supply and of consumer exposure to these pesticide

Data are available annually and reported by food product and pesticide for which
the food product was tested.


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Pesticide Data
          Program: Annual Summary (Calendar years 1993-2000).
          11 February 2003. Available online at:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs. Setting
           Tolerances for Pesticide Residues in Foods. 20 November 2002.
           Available online at:

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