(June 11) The most recent Food and Drug Administration study of perchlorate exposure in foods urges consumers not to worry about perchlorate in their lettuce.

Kathy Means, vice president of government relations for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del., said the latest report on perchlorate exposure levels in foods released by the FDA in late May said exactly what the industry needed.

Despite pointing to exposure to perchlorate — a chemical frequently linked to industrial pollution that is a component of rocket fuel but also is naturally occurring in arid states — in many types of fruits and vegetables, the overall message of the report was clear.

“The FDA said it best, that consumers should be eating a diverse diet full of fruits and vegetables,” Means said. “It’s not bad news — it’s good news. We have been giving the same advice to consumers all along. The only things we need to watch for are the publicity and media blips that might need to be addressed.”

In 2003, there was widespread media coverage linking perchlorate levels in lettuce grown in Yuma, Ariz., to nearby military installations and rocket fuel contamination.