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Low or no pesticide levels in most fruits and vegetables in California

Staff Writer |
Tests on produce collected by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) indicate the vast majority of fruits and vegetables available for sale in California meet stringent pesticide safety standards.

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During its 2015 survey, DPR found 97.3 percent of tested California-grown produce had little or no pesticide residues.

The findings are included in DPR's just released 2015 Pesticide Residues in Fresh Produce report.

"These results demonstrate California's commitment to food safety," said Brian Leahy, Director of DPR. "Our scientific program ensures that growers continue to produce fresh fruits and vegetables that consumers can safely enjoy."

The report is based on year-round collection of approximately 3,600 samples of produce, including those labelled as "organic," conducted by DPR scientists at grocery stores, farmers markets, food distribution centers, and other outlets throughout California.

The produce is tested for more than 350 types of pesticides using state of the art equipment operated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sets levels for the amount of pesticide residue that can be present on fruits and vegetables that will not cause adverse health impacts when consumed. The highest residue level that is allowed on a commodity is called a "tolerance."

It is a violation if a residue exceeds the established tolerance for the specific fruit or vegetable, or if a pesticide for which no tolerance has been established is detected. However, a sample with an illegal pesticide residue does not necessarily indicate a potential health concern.

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