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Pesticide Residue Problems in Developing Countriesólack of data

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) is part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.  It establishes Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides in foods and feeds in order to facilitate international trade and protect the health of consumers. A recent meeting of the Codex committee identified pesticides used on commodities exported from developing countries that have no MRLs at present.

Commodities with pesticide residues exceeding the MRLs

asparagus

chlorpyrifos

blackberries

captan

cocoa beans

DDT

cocoa beans

metalaxyl

dates

bromophos

hot pepper

profenophos

loganberries

iprodione

loganberries

captan

palm oil

glyphosate

papaya

methamidophos

peas

chlorothalonil

pears

omethoate

raspberries

captan

strawberries

cypermethrin

strawberries

chlorpyrifos

vanilla beans

DDT

yam flour

lindane

At the last session of the CCPR in Havana in 1993 the Working Group on Pesticide Residues Problems in Developing Countries (PRDC) agreed to collect information in a questionnaire to establish a list of the most important pesticides registered and used in developing countries. Information was also collected to identify priorities on crops exported from developing countries which require MRLs, taking into consideration climatic conditions of producing countries, good agricultural practices, toxicological evaluations and intake studies. The survey will help promote food safety and economy in several regions of the world.
    The research collected  and analysed data documenting the rejection of commodities due to pesticide residues found in imported food which violate standards. Unfortunately only a few countries publish their food control data.
    The countries responding to the request for information were Republic of Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, Algeria, Saint Lucia, Chile, Cuba, and USA.
    Responses to the questionnaires indicated a number of pesticides in widespread use which have not yet had a toxicological evaluation by the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues or which have not had MRLs considered by Codex.*
    Commodity/pesticide combinations were identified, giving priority to products from developing countries with export potential. This list of commodity/pesticide combinations should be considered as candidates for new Codex MRLs. The production of certain tropical products such as cocoa beans, dates, hot peppers, palm oil and papaya on occasions requires the use of pesticides for which no tolerance levels have been set by importing countries. There is a need to establish what the specific MRLs should be, related to good agricultural practice applied in producing countries.
    The commodity/pesticide combinations needing Codex MRLs are set out in the box below.  Several countries in Latin America have set national MRLs for exported fruits such as blackberries, pears, raspberries and strawberries. These limits have not been considered by Codex.
    Codex MRLs are generally set for raw products, and a specific policy has been adopted to avoid, in general, establishing MRLs for processed products. It was noted that in most of the reported cases of monitoring data provided by the US Food and Drug Administration, a number of processed products had been rejected. In the light of the likely increasing importance of Codex in the enforcement of food standards under GATT, Codex is recommended to review its policy in consideration of potential technical barriers to trade.

* Pesticides which have not been evaluated for toxicology are: abate, alachlor, ametryn, atrazine, benfluraline, gamma BHC, bisfen, brodifacoum, bromacil, bromadiolone, bupirimate, butachlor, butocarboxime, chlorfluazuron, chlorophacinone, chloropropham, copper oxychloride, coumachlor, coumatetralyl, cyhalothrin, dalapon, dazomet, dicamba, dichlorobutrazol, dichloropropene, dicrotophos, dimethametryn, dioxocarb, diuron, esfenvalerate, etofenphox, fenarimol, fenobucarb, fenpropathrin, fenthoate, ferbam, fluazifop-p-butyl, flufenoxuron, fluometuron, fluvalinate, folithion, iodophenphos, ioxynil, iprobenfos, kasugamycin, linuron, maneb, methyl thiofanate, metoxuron, methoxychlor, metsulfuron methyl, metolachlor, molinate, oxadiazon, pencycuron, pendimethalin, penta-chlorophenol, phenamiphos, phosethyl-al, picloram, piperophos, pirimiphos-ethyl, pretilachlor, probenasol, prometryn, propanil, propetamphos, propineb, prothiofos, quinalphos, simazine, sumithion, terbutryn, tetrachlorvinphos, tetradifon, temefos, thiobencarb, triclopyr, tricylazole, warfarin, zinc phosphide.

Paper presented to the 26th Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues, part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, that met in The Hague in April 1994. The complete paper is available from Codex, reference CX/PR 94/15.

[This article first appeared in Pesticides News No. 24, June 1994, page 10]


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