October 24, 2023
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made available its annual Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Report for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021), summarizing findings from FDA testing of human and animal foods for approximately 750 different pesticides and selected industrial compounds from October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021.
It is the legal responsibility of companies that produce and grow foods and manufacture products sold in the U.S. and intended for food use to comply with applicable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and FDA regulations. To protect public health, the FDA’s pesticide residue monitoring program tests FDA-regulated foods shipped in interstate commerce to determine whether they comply with the pesticide tolerances, or maximum residue levels, set by the EPA. If the FDA finds that the amount of pesticide residue on a food is over the tolerance, or when a pesticide is found and there is no tolerance established, the FDA can take action. For FY 2021, findings show that the levels of pesticide chemical residues in the U.S. food supply are generally in compliance with EPA pesticide tolerances.
As with FY 2020, sample collection and analysis in FY 2021 was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 68% fewer human food samples and 78% fewer animal food samples were collected in FY 2021 compared with FY 2019, the most recent year not impacted by the global pandemic. Sample collection and analysis increased in FY 2022.
Human Food Samples: 1,367 total samples (300 domestic food samples from 26 states and 1,067 imported food samples from 66 countries/economies).
- 96.7% of domestic samples and 89.3% of imported samples were compliant with federal regulations (below EPA tolerances).
- No pesticide chemical residues were detected in 35.0% of domestic samples and 44.5% of imported samples.
Animal Food Samples: 80 total samples (16 domestic food samples from 5 states and 64 imported samples from 7 countries).
- 100% of domestic samples and 98.4% of imported samples were compliant with federal regulations (below EPA tolerances).
- No pesticide chemical residues were detected in 37.5% of domestic samples and 40.6% of imported samples.
Due to the low sample numbers, only limited conclusions can be drawn from the results. However, the violation rates for both human and animal food samples in FY 2021 were similar to recent years.
For Additional Information:
- Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Reports and Data
- Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Questions and Answers
- Total Diet Study