Some homeowners that are aware of pesticide odors in their neighborhoods are concerned that their garden has been damaged as a result of pesticide drift; however, when there is no physical drift of the product, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is unable to substantiate or prove that pesticide drifted onto a garden. The MDA has found through years of investigating this type of complaint that levels of pesticides are often minute and undetectable. Due to limited costs, limited staff and laboratory resources, MDA is not in a position to “test” every garden, not to mention every vegetable, in order to determine whether garden produce is safe to eat. If you have a concern over whether you should eat the produce from your garden, the best advice is not to eat it.
Garden plants and lawns often suffer from disease, drought, or excessive water which exhibit symptoms many people think are due to pesticides. When physical drift occurs, pesticide products leave tell tale symptoms of injury (damage) or contamination (residue) that may be properly identified by our inspectors. Without symptoms of this damage or residue, it is doubtful that physical drift or a direct application occurred. The chances of MDA inspectors collecting useful information related to a potential drift or misuse complaint are maximized when the concerned party immediately relays their concerns to us. Reporting delays, particularly those beyond 45 days of application, jeopardize our ability to analyze residue.
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