The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reportedly found at least 34 unapproved pesticides on cilantro samples during routine testing. According to the agency’s recently issued 2009 Pesticide Data Program report, 94 percent of the 184 samples tested in a rotating selection of produce came up positive for at least one pesticide.

With no definite answers as to why the cilantro samples contained pesticide residues, government researchers have suggested that growers may have confused guidelines for cilantro with those for flat-leaf parsley, which is approved for more pesticides. Asserting that they will take follow-up action, some industry leaders are equally puzzled. “It’s something we need to look into,” Kathy Means of the Produce Marketing Association was quoted as saying. “We need to determine: Why this year, why this crop? What’s going on?” See Chicago Tribune, May 31, 2011.