Is it safe to drink wine that was made in vineyards where pesticides have been used?

Is it safe to drink wine that was made in vineyards where pesticides have been used?
Sep 30, 2020

Q: Is it safe to drink wine that was made in vineyards where pesticides have been used?—Jason, Salem, Ore.

A: In the United States, pesticide chemical residues in food and beverages are closely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration, and pesticides must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to FDA literature, "U.S. regulators help ensure that food treated with a pesticide is safe to eat by setting limits for any remaining residues based on safety standards and monitoring the presence of the residues in or on foods."

The EPA sets a maximum limit for pesticide residues in specific food and beverage items, including wine, with tolerance levels set at "reasonable certainty of no harm" based on the residues' toxicity.

"Analytical equipment is improving continuously and is able to measure these compounds at lower and lower levels," said Dr. Anita Oberholster, an associate specialist in cooperative extension in enology at U.C. Davis. "Just because pesticides can be detected in wines does not mean [the wine] is harmful." 

When pesticides can be used on wine grapes is also regulated, to ensure that their levels have fallen to safe levels not just for consumption but also to ensure the safety of harvest workers picking the grapes. "Only small residue amounts at most can potentially remain on the grapes at the time of harvest and potentially be present in wines," Dr. Oberholster told Wine Spectator, asserting that the minimal pesticide residues that may be found in some wines pose no known health risks to consumers. 

Q & A Health United States

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