Pesticides Residues

International Regulation

Plant protection products (more commonly known as pesticides) are widely used in agriculture to increase the yield, improve the quality, and extend the storage life of food crops. Pesticides must undergo extensive efficacy, environmental, and toxicological testing to be registered by governments for legal use in specified applications. The applied chemicals and/or their degradation products may remain as residues in the agricultural products, which becomes a concern for consumer exposure. Therefore, in order to ensure stringent food safety standards, maximum residue levels (MRLs) (or ‘tolerances’ in the U.S.), that limit the types and amounts of residues that can be legally present on foods, are set by regulatory bodies worldwide (see below).

Resources for Maximum Residue Limits and Tolerances

U.S. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR)

Codex Alimentarius

Global MRL Database

Pesticide Analysis Services

The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) provides a pesticide residue testing service for grains under the Pesticide Analysis Service (PAS) Program as described in Program Directive 9180.40. Fees associated with the services are found in Directive 9180.74. For more information regarding pesticide analysis services contact Tim Brewer (816-866-2228, Timothy.M.Brewer@usda.gov).