California upgrades residue testing of produce
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation is boosting funding for the state laboratory that analyzes pesticide residues on fresh produce.
The funding will allow the laboratory to use new screening technology known as liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to detect residues of recently registered pesticides that are difficult to find with older screening techniques, according to a department press release.
The DPR currently allocates about $4.5 million annually to the California Department of Food and Agriculture for laboratory services, including analyzing produce for pesticide residues, air testing, water monitoring, and analyzing samples relating to illness investigations. The 2011-12 budget includes an additional $2.5 million to expand LC/MS screening by buying new equipment and hiring staff at CDFA’s laboratories in Sacramento and Anaheim.
In 2010, the DPR collected more than 3,000 samples of 170 types of domestic and imported produce. Overall, 97.6 percent had residues within allowable limits. Of those, 65 percent had no detectable residues.
In 2011, LC/MS testing will focus on apples, strawberries, peaches, potatoes, spinach, and long beans.