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Herbicide Drift to Vegetables (07/06/17)

Question: My garden got over-sprayed from our field sprayer. Is it safe to still eat my peas after washing? The potatoes and tomatoes and hot peppers look ok the rest of the Garden is sick and the leaves are covered with spots, cucumbers, squash, peas, green beans exactly the same as the beans in the field.

Herbicide Drift to Vegetables

Question: My garden got over-sprayed from our field sprayer. Is it safe to still eat my peas after washing? The potatoes and tomatoes and hot peppers look ok the rest of the Garden is sick and the leaves are covered with spots, cucumbers, squash, peas, green beans exactly the same as the beans in the field.

Answer: With respect to home gardens, the short answer is, do not eat produce from plants that have been drifted on. Mostly because it is impractical to have the produce tested to see if they are under the Maximum Residue Level established by FDA.

There are residue limits established, but without running an analysis, it would be impossible to know if the vegetables in question are below the tolerance. On a commercial scale, tomatoes and potatoes for example, can be tested and are, especially when thousands of dollars of crop might have to be destroyed. The cost however, is substantial.

The lab that the ND Department of Agriculture uses for running samples is the Montana Department of Agriculture. You can contact them here:

http://agr.mt.gov/agr/Programs/Commodities/AnalyticalLaboratory/Pesticide

It is entirely possibly that these plants may show injury symptoms, and not have meaningful quantities of the chemical show up in analysis. The problem is, if the concentration amount is not known then eating the produce cannot be recommend.

Unless you have the plant tissue tested for analysis, then best to hit the farmers market or at the grocery store. (Preceding comments from Andrew Thostensen, Head of Pesticide Programs at NDSU).

Rich Zollinger

Extension Weed Specialist

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