Supermarket, restaurant owners invited to meeting about pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables

28 January 2013

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a meeting with local supermarket operators, distributors and restaurant owners about pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables.

Representatives from supermarkets, distribution companies and restaurants are encouraged to attend the meeting from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, in the main conference room of the Governor’s Complex at Adelup. Individuals interested in participating are asked to call Guam EPA at 475-1658/59 or email Betwin.Alokoa@epa.guam.gov to register.

“We hope to bring everyone to the table that handles fruits and vegetables in Guam. We have done extensive outreach with farmers and this is the next step. By meeting with large grocery stores and distributors, we hope to ensure every fruit and vegetable consumed in Guam is not affected by residual pesticides,” said Guam EPA administrator Eric M. Palacios. “There are so many parts to the chain linking those who grow fruits and vegetables and consumers. Our Pesticide Enforcement Program is working hard to ensure all links of that chain are well-informed about residual pesticides and how to reduce them.”

The meeting will include presentations from Guam EPA, Guam Department of Pubic Health and Social Services (DPHSS), the Guam Department of Agriculture and the University of Guam. Information will be presented about pesticides, potential health concerns, sampling of produce to determine if there are residual pesticides present and information about organic farming techniques.

In 2006, these agencies began working together to better understand residual pesticides on food in Guam. This partnership includes gathering samples of fruits and vegetables quarterly from various markets and stores. The samples are sent to an FDA-certified lab in California where they are analyzed. The results are sent back to DPHSS. If there are higher levels of pesticides on the produce than allowed by U.S. EPA guidelines, DPHSS and Guam EPA take action to inform the public. The effort has grown in the past two years with expanded outreach and education and is now known as the, “What’s on my Food” project.

The meeting is one of many planned during 2013 to do outreach with supermarkets, distributors and consumers.

For more information about Guam EPA’s Pesticide Enforcement Program, contact Guam EPA Public Information Officer Tammy Jo Anderson Taft at 475-1646 or email TammyJoAnderson.Taft@epa.guam.gov.