Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) once again confirmed the overall safety of the U.S. food supply with the release of its annual Pesticide Data Program, which monitors pesticide residues found on fruits and vegetables and other foods commonly eaten by infants and children.
The report shows that pesticide residues found on all but 0.25 percent of the samples tested are within the strict safety limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To help consumers understand just how small the residues found on fruits and vegetables really are, the Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit group representing both conventional and organic farmers, has developed a unique tool based upon the USDA’s findings.
The tool, known as the Pesticide Residue Calculator, was developed by professor of toxicology, Dr. Robert Krieger, who heads the Personal Chemical Exposure Program at University of California, Riverside.
Dr. Krieger analyzed the highest residue levels found on fruits and vegetables by the USDA and calculated the number of servings which could be eaten in one day without any negative health effects from the pesticide residues that may be present.
The calculator shows that a child could consume hundreds or even thousands of servings of many popular fruits and vegetables in one day and still not experience any negative health effects from pesticide residues.
“Nutritionists tell us we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables for good health, but sometimes with children, it can be difficult to get them to eat any at all,” says Marilyn Dolan executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, which hosts a website to promote consumption of all fruits and vegetables by providing food safety information at www.safefruitsandveggies.com.
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989. Its membership includes approximately 50 agriculture associations, commodity groups and individual growers/shippers who represent farms of all sizes and includes conventional as well as organic production.
The Alliance works to provide a voice for farmers to communicate their commitment to food safety and care for the land.
Photo courtesy: Alliance For Food and Farming