(March 1) Results from the 2002 Pesticide Data Program reveal that 47% of fresh and processed fruit and vegetable samples tested had detectable residues, down from 64% of fruit and vegetable samples in 2001.

The executive summary of the report said food samples tested in 2002 included 10,056 samples of fruit and vegetable commodities, 725 samples of barley, 495 samples of rice and 924 beef samples. Drinking water from 699 samples was also tested.

The USDA said 78% of all food samples were domestic, 20% were imported and 2% were of mixed or unknown origin.

The 2002 data revealed that 55% of fresh fruit and vegetables had detectable residues, compared with an average of 22% for processed fruits and vegetables — apple juice, applesauce, sweet corn and sweet peas.

However, 2002 PDP testing found that residues exceeding an established tolerance were found in only 0.3% of all food samples — up slightly from 0.1% in 2001.

Out of more than 10,000 samples, 33 fruit and vegetable samples were found to have residues exceeding established tolerances.

Residues with no established tolerance were found in 2.7% of all food samples in 2002, compared with 1.8% in 2001. Of the more than 10,000 fruit and vegetables sampled, the USDA said 333 were found to have residues for which no tolerance was established.

The agency said those residues were detected at very low concentrations.

The “Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2002” and the 2002 data are available online at www.ams.usda.gov/science/pdp/download.htm.

Printed copies of the summary will be available in mid-March.