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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3552-3570; doi:10.3390/su6063552

Perspective on Dietary Risk Assessment of Pesticide Residues in Organic Food

1
Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, 90063 Troy Road, Enterprise, OR 97828, USA
2
Independent Consultant, PO Box 12256, Eugene, OR 97440, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 January 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)
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Abstract

Previous studies have shown that organically produced food has lower risks of pesticide contamination than food that is not organically produced. However, organically produced food is not entirely free of pesticide residues. A large, high-quality U.S. Department of Agriculture database reports pesticide residues in several dozen organic and conventionally grown foods on an annual basis, and supports detailed analyses of the frequency of residues in conventional and organic food, the number of residues found in an average sample of food, residue levels, and potential dietary risk. These data are used to estimate pesticide dietary exposures and relative risk levels, and to assess the impacts of the current pesticide-related provisions of the National Organic Program (NOP) rule. Fraud appears to be rare based on the available data. Most prohibited residues found in organic produce are detected at levels far below the residues typically found in food grown with pesticides. Relatively high-risk residues are more common in imported foods—both organic and conventional—compared to domestically grown food. The authors conclude that incorporating relative dietary risk into the organic standard would be a more precautionary, risk-based approach than targeting enforcement to organic foods found to contain 5% or more of the applicable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance. View Full-Text
Keywords: organic food; pesticides; contamination; residues; fruit; vegetables; dietary risk index organic food; pesticides; contamination; residues; fruit; vegetables; dietary risk index
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Benbrook, C.M.; Baker, B.P. Perspective on Dietary Risk Assessment of Pesticide Residues in Organic Food. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3552-3570.

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