As everyone gathers for family meals over the holidays, there will be lots of discussions about food and food safety. Unfortunately, misconceptions and misplaced priorities have become commonplace. With the advances in science, it’s seemingly possible to find traces of anything anywhere. Zero tolerance has taken on a whole new meaning. As detection limits drop ever lower, zero isn’t where it used to be. This is a public relations problem for agriculture and a real barrier to agricultural trade. Consumers are often confused, poorly informed and misguided. For many, any amount of chemical residue is unacceptable. They need to know and understand that zero is usually unrealistic, unattainable and unnecessary. And organic food is not necessarily a solution. Organic certification does not rely on residue testing. It’s simply a paper trail of certifications that a food was produced following certain protocols. There are some good reasons to support and nurture local food production and distribution. But terms like local, all-natural and organic should not be equated with safety. On the other hand, minute traces of approved products are not a cause for concern. I’m Kevin Hursh.