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Food testing for pesticides by CAES reveals 98% of tested samples are within federal tolerances

Wednesday, February 5, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Paul Sicilian
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Food testing for pesticides by The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) reveals 98% of tested samples are within federal tolerances


New Haven, CT – The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is reporting that in 2018-2019, 98% of the human food samples tested for pesticide levels were below EPA-established tolerances for residue content. The commodities are collected by CT Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) inspectors and include a wide range of fruits and vegetables including apples, a variety of berries, grapes, peaches, pears, onions, cabbage, broccoli, and artichoke, as well as a number of baby foods, spices/herbs, and juices. Of the 236 samples tested, 108 (46 %) were found to contain detectable pesticide levels but only 5 (2 %) had residues that exceeded EPA tolerances. These were samples of cilantro from Costa Rica, cinnamon from the US-India-China, snap peas from Guatemala, artichokes from California and thyme from the US. These findings have been submitted to the CT Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory enforcement.

Separately, 48 human food samples were analyzed for total arsenic that included a variety of baby foods and juices. Forty-one of these samples did not have arsenic above our reporting limit of 10 parts per billion. The remaining 7 samples contained arsenic at 34 to 110 parts per billion. All results have been submitted to CT DCP and the FDA, although there are currently no action levels for arsenic in food.

According to Dr. Jason White, Vice Director of the CAES, “Active surveillance programs such as this are critical to ensuring the safety and integrity of the state’s food supply. In our ISO 17025 accredited program, all samples are screened for nearly 400 different pesticides and importantly, our instruments also have the ability to detect novel or emerging contaminants that may arrive in the future.”

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station’s Department of Analytical Chemistry conducts chemical analysis on fresh and manufactured human food every year and is the only program in the State ensuring that safe levels of pesticide/arsenic are present in these products. Bulletins of findings are published and freely available to the public. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CAES/DOCUMENTS/Publications/Technical_Bulletins/TB21.pdf?la=en.

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