USDA Report: Happy Holiday News for Consumers
12/19/2018 3:49 PM
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) report released this week was like a holiday greeting card for consumers because it was filled with good news about the safety of fruits and vegetables.
USDA states in its report: “The PDP annual summaries consistently show that 99 percent of sampled products had residues below EPA tolerances. The PDP data demonstrate that overall pesticide residues found on foods tested are at levels below the tolerances established by EPA and pose no safety concern. Based on the PDP data, consumers can feel confident about eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.”
That couldn’t be more clear. And note that the USDA statement focuses on “consistency.” Because not only are these strong results what USDA sampling finds year after year, this is also what is “consistently” found by state sampling programs and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, in the spring, consumers will be greeted with a very different message from activist groups who take this positive news from USDA and turn it into something, well, “dirty.” By manipulating and exaggerating the USDA PDP data, certain groups strive to cast doubt on the safety of popular and more accessible fruits and veggies.
Fortunately, this tactic is losing traction and attention. Among the reasons – peer reviewed studies are showing that this negative and inaccurate messaging by activists results in low income consumers stating they would be less likely to purchase any produce – organic or conventional. Further, the science based information found at safefruitsandveggies.com underscores the safety of all produce and the exceptional compliance level among farmers with the laws and regulations governing organic and conventional pesticide use.
So when spring comes around next year and consumers see their favorite fruit or veggie unfairly disparaged, they should remember the December message from USDA. “Based on the PDP data, consumers can feel confident about eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.” That is happy holiday news for everyone.