A special testing program showed more than 60 percent of corn and soybeans sampled by the Food and Drug Administration were positive for glyphosate and glufosinate residues in FY 2016, but none of the samples had levels higher than the legal limits.

The FDA released the herbicide data from the 2016 federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, along with its annual pesticide residue report. The agency tested for glyphosate, glufosinate, and 30 acid herbicides. Laboratory tests found glyphosate on 63 percent of corn samples and 67 percent of soybean samples. Test results for glufosinate showed 1.4 percent of corn samples and 1.1 percent of soybeans had that herbicide’s residue.

“We analyzed for glyphosate and glufosinate residue levels in 274 grain corn, 267 soybean, 113 milk, and 106 egg samples. No samples contained violative levels of glyphosate or glufosinate; and no residues were found in the milk and egg samples,” according to the FDA’s report.

“We determined no residues were found in 88 percent of the 891 samples for other acid herbicide residue levels, including six grain crops — corn, soybeans, barley, rice, wheat and oats — and eight root crops — potatoes, turnips, sugar beets, peanuts, carrots, radishes, beets and sweet potatoes. Two soybean samples contained violative residues.”

For its FY 2016 pesticide review — Oct. 1, 2015, through Sept. 30, 2016 — the FDA tested 6,946 human foods and 467 animal foods. The human food samples came from 98 countries and 46 states and U.S. territories. 

The FDA did not find any pesticide chemical residues in 52.9 percent of U.S. samples and 50.7 percent of import samples that were analyzed. Of the human foods 99 percent from the United States and 90 percent of imports were compliant with federal standards, which allow for various levels of residues depending on specific pesticide ingredients.

For FY 2016, the FDA analyzed 467 animal food samples for pesticides — 242 from the U.S. and 225 that were imported. More than 98 percent of the animal food samples were compliant with U.S. maximum level standards. Pesticide chemical residues were found in 57 percent of the U.S. animal foods and 36 percent of the imported animal food samples.

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the FDA test results for human and animal foods are good news for the public.

“Today we’re releasing the latest set of results from our annual Pesticide Monitoring Program,” Gottlieb said of the Oct. 1 report. “

“Like other recent reports, 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.”

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