On October 1, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report showing the majority of human and pet foods produced and imported into the U.S. during FY 2016 tested below the federal limits for pesticide chemical residues. FDA tested for 711 pesticides and industrial chemicals in 6946 human food products and 467 animal foods during the fiscal year running from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016 under the FDA’s Pesticide Monitoring Program. For human food products, FDA found that over 99% of domestic and 90% of import human foods were compliant with federal standards. Further, no pesticide chemical residues were found in 52.9% of the domestic and 50.7% of the import samples that FDA analyzed.
FDA also publicized the findings of its “Collection of Selected Domestic and Imported Foods for Herbicides Analysis” study that examined residues of glyphosate, glufosinate, and 30 selected acid herbicides in foods. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in popular garden weed killers and one of the most-used agricultural chemicals in the world, has been the subject of much controversy. As previously reported on this blog, on August 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury awarded a former school groundskeeper dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma $289 million against Monsanto for claims that the Roundup herbicide was a substantial contributing factor in causing his cancer.
Analyzing 274 grain corn, 267 soybean, 113 milk, and 106 egg samples, FDA found non-volatile levels of glyphosate in 63.1% of corn samples and 67% of soybean samples. Non-volatile levels of glufosinate were found in 1.4% of corn tested and 1.1% of soybeans. In a statement accompanying the release of the results, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “…the results show that overall levels of pesticide chemical residues are below the Environmental Protection Agency’s tolerances, and therefore don’t pose a risk to consumers.”