The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has fined Cal Fresco LLC, a Buena Park-based fresh produce wholesaler, $10,000 after random testing found pesticide residues on Mexican vegetables.
Tomatillos and jalapeno peppers, collected from two retail distribution centers in the Sacramento area, and cactus leaf found at Cal Fresco’s headquarters, tested positive for residues of chemicals not registered in California for use on those crops, according to a news release.
Under a settlement reached between the state agency and the wholesaler, Cal Fresco agreed to implement control measures to prevent the distribution and sale in California of produce that had been treated with unregistered pesticides.
“This settlement underscores our commitment to enforce pesticide laws designed to ensure safety of the food supply,” Mary-Ann Warmerdam, director of the pesticide regulation agency, said in the release. “Our residue monitoring program is the strongest of its kind in the nation and targets both California-grown fruits and vegetables and fresh produce imported from anywhere in the world.”
Tests on the peppers and cactus were conducted in February; the tainted tomatillos were found in July, according to the release. The residues were at very low levels and did not pose health risks, the release said, but the produce was ordered to be removed from trade channels, which is the agency’s standard procedure for products found to have been treated with unregistered chemicals.