Sources of Pesticide Residue Data

Report - PDP cover

The USDA’s Pesticide Data Program provides pesticide residue data.

For all applications of the DRI in the M2M pesticide dietary risk analytical system, residue data for a specific food are derived from the USDA’s “Pesticide Data Program” (PDP). The PDP is one of the largest and highest quality pesticide residue dataset available worldwide. Moreover, the protocols of the PDP include a sampling scheme designed to reflect residues in food “as eaten,” rather than residues present at the farm-gate, as is the case with most of the residue testing conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and most State Departments of Agriculture. The PDP, for example, tests bananas after peeling them, while the FDA tests them with the peel on.

Limited PDP data is available for 1991 and 1992, but the full, modern PDP started in 1993 and has been run continuously since. Each year 12 to 15 fresh foods, and another half-dozen to a dozen processed foods are selected for testing. Domestically grown and imported samples are selected roughly proportional to market share, allowing analysts to assess risk levels and trends in domestically grown food versus imported food.

Other Sources of Residue Data

DI values can be calculated based on residue data from other sources, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, of the U.K. Food Standards Agency. Some private companies carry out sufficiently detailed annual tsting of certain foods to track pesticide residue and risk levels. Any of these additional sources of residue data could be used in an analysis based on the DRI.

State-Level Residue Data

State-specific DRI values can also be calculated for some crop-state combinations using PDP data. PDP enumerators are supposed to record the packing and production state for each sample, but did so sporadically in the early years of the program.

Based on analyses done using state-specific residue profiles, DRI values do vary markedly across regions. Variability is driven by differences in pest pressure and pesticide use, which are in turn highly weather dependent. For example, residues of fungicides on food grown in a wet, humid region are much more common, compared to the same crop grown in a dry, desert location.


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