The California stone fruit industry is launching a multifront attack on a report of high and in some cases illegal use of pesticides on peaches.

The Reedley-based California Tree Fruit Agreement has hired five toxicologists to review the study, is distributing a fact sheet to retailers and industry members and plans to publish a letter to the editor and an opinion page column in The Chicago Tribune, the newspaper that reported on the study, said Sheri Mierau, CTFA president.

The Tribune obtained an early release of the report, to be published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program.

According to the Tribune, the report found that some peaches studied contained levels of pesticides that exceeded Environmental Protection Agency approved levels. Others contained pesticides that have not been approved for use in the U.S.

In the fact sheet circulated to retailers and industry members, CTFA points out that 99% of the foods analyzed by USDA for the study did not contain pesticide residues exceeding EPA limits.

CTFA also cites the work of Robert Krieger, a toxicologist at the University of California-Davis, which found that someone could eat between 400 and 1,600 servings per day of peaches with the highest residues found in studies over the past three years and still not experience adverse effects from pesticides.

The fact sheet also says that in CTFA tests over the past four years of California peaches, plums and nectarines, 99.9% had either no detectable pesticide residues or levels well below EPA limits.

CTFA fights back on pesticide report