104 • PESTICIDE RESIDUE
THE DPR’S RESIDUE MONITOR-
ing Program is a key element in the integrated regulatory program designed to ensure the safe use of pesticides in California. This chapter will give you an overview of the laws and regulations concerning pesticide residues.
Monitoring Produce for Pesticide Residues
Pesticide residue is the remnant of a pesticide that can be found on a crop or commodity after application. Residues may result from any of the following:
off-site movement such as drift, volatilization, and runoff from irrigation or rain water
uptake from contaminated soil
other environmental sources Monitoring for Residues. DPR, the
S. Food and Drug Administration
S. FDA), and county agricultural
commissioners collect samples of various produce commodities for pesticide residue analyses. DPR collects samples throughout the year from chain store distribution centers, wholesale markets, and points-of-entry. These samples include domestic and foreign produce. County agricultural commissioners may collect and analyze produce samples from the fields at any time during the growing season. The purpose of sampling is to monitor for illegal pesticide use or pesticide residues. The U.S. FDA samples domestic and imported produce in interstate commerce within California and throughout the United States. They
have strengthened their import pro- gram in the last few years and now give special attention to imported foods.
Residue tolerances for produce in California are the same as those established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). The tolerance is the highest residue level of a particular pesticide that is legally allowed on a particular commodity. The purpose of the tolerance is to ensure that consumers are not exposed to unsafe levels of pesticide residues in food. Tolerances are based upon extensive toxicological information developed by pesticide registration applicants. This information is devel- oped through the use of test animals and through actual field dissipation studies. These data are then evaluated by qualified scientists at U.S. EPA.
The best way for you to avoid pesticide residue problems is to read and carefully follow the label instruc- tions and follow any laws or regula- tions that may govern the use of a specific pesticide. You should always consider what is being produced on adjoining properties. Then select the proper pesticide and method of application, and confine the pesticide to the property you are treating.
Laws and regulations do not justify or permit pesticide residue on produce unless a tolerance has been established for that specific pesticide and produce combination. In some instances, the Director of DPR may authorize an exemption from a tolerance.