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USA: pesticide-testing program halted

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

A government program testing the levels of pesticides included 120 kinds of fruit, vegetables and field crops in the USA. The $ 8 million-a-year program was now halted since it was considered to be too expensive, reports the Chicago Tribune. Data from the Agricultural Chemical Usage Program launched in 1990 and administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture were collected until this year and used by the Environmental Protection Agency to set safe levels of pesticides in food. The information was also widely used by university and food industry researchers. Institutions that have used the USDA data must now buy similar information from a private company. The Union of Concerned Scientists commented that the private data sets were expensive and unreliable, and therefore they were no proper substitute.

Most pesticides are banned in the production of organic food under USDA regulations. Still, a scientist with The Organic Center in Boulder, Colorado, found that about 20 % of organic food tested by USDA contained low levels of pesticides, since the use of them had been widespread. The USDA's National Organic Program has set the acceptable level of pesticides in organic food at 5 % of the limits in conventional foods.

Source: Chicagotribune




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