“The Pesticide Residue Lab takes products that our consumer group purchases off the store shelves and checks the samples to make sure they are within the tolerance levels of EPA, for things like pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, all the things that our farming practices are designed to limit. This lab is the double check that everything is as instructed.
We not only test fresh fruits and vegetables but also frozen ones and other products that contain fruit and vegetables. Over the course of the year we will do about 1500 samples and over 5000 analysis’.
A few years back, one of the staff members developed a new protocol that allowed this work to be done for much less money and it’s been picked up by other states.
The program of quality control does work, so we find about 1% or less of items that have an issue. We do communicate on all samples to the company that put the product out, so that they know we are doing our job for food safety. Because of that communication and the strong desire of the American farmer to put a good product out there, the lab has a big role to play.”