Ready to geek out? We’ve updated our pesticide residue database, What’s On My Food?, with the latest chemical and toxicology data – including a new dimension that tracks bee-toxic pesticides. And we made a widget!
What's a widget? Fair question. It’s a snippet of computer code that allows you (or your favorite blogger) to host the What’s On My Food? search function on your website or blog. You can download it here.
From the main site you can still share to your Facebook page, find a banner to post and – as ever – dig deeper into pesticide residue and toxicology data. The highlights:
In January, the annual release of USDA's new Pesticide Data Program's (PDP) residue data was imminent. We'd planned to incorporate this new data along with the new honey bee toxicity data and functionality that we launched today, but the data has been held up without explanation. We queried in January and February as to the release date, and were told that the data were ready. We waited, and queried again. No explanation as to why the data is being held back. As of today, April 6, 2011, USDA's release is more than three months behind its typical schedule.
Readers may recall that in September of last year, a $180,000 grant was given by USDA to fund a PR campaign to "correct misconceptions about pesticide residues on food." The move was widely panned by organic and sustainable farmers and advocates as an inappropriate use of limited public funds.
When and if the USDA's residue data is finally released, we'll let you know. We'll also factor that into our next WhatsOnMyFood? release plan. Meanwhile, if you want the data, here's the Public Affairs group contact: Michael Jarvis, Director, Public Affairs, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, Michael.Jarvis@ams.usda.gov, 202-690-3816. He will at least offer to put you on a notification list. (And it can't hurt to let them know that we actually want and use this data!)
Another fair question. The data are all drawn from official, mostly government sources and run through PAN's PesticideInfo.org database. This is a site we built and have been updating about twice per year since 2000. We know that more than 100,000 people visit this site per month. Experts, reporters and data-intrepid consumers tell us they rely on it.
Here's some of what the latest update to PesticideInfo includes:
We thought you'd be excited.
What’s On My Food? is a decoder ring for chemicals on and in your food (and water) – use it! It's also a public education tool to help people understand and get involved. Please share it and help us spread the word!