On February 9, the FDA released a guidance document titled Questions and Answers Regarding Channels of Trade Policy for Human Food Commodities with Chlorpyrifos Residues: Guidance for Industry, based on the channels of trade provision of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the FDA’s 2005 Guidance. The guidance comes just before the EPA’s final rule revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos is set to expire on February 28. After that date, a food that contains chlorpyrifos residues will not be deemed unsafe if the pesticide was applied lawfully prior to the tolerance expiration and the residue does not exceed the tolerance level permitted.
Going forward, the FDA will take a multi-stage approach:
Stage 1: The Agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion by not requesting showing documentation for residues complying with previous tolerances for a time period ranging from approximately 6 to 24 months, depending on the specific commodity.
Stage 2: The Agency will accept showing documentation that demonstrates that chlorpyrifos was applied before February 28, 2022. If the responsible party does not provide appropriate documentation, the food may be subject to regulatory action.
In October, NPC joined other organizations representing growers, retailers, co-ops, applicators, refiners, crop consultants, and agricultural stakeholders, to call on EPA to reverse its final rule to revoke all tolerances for the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The organizations argued EPA’s decision “is inconsistent with federal statute, the Agency’s own record on chlorpyrifos, and sound, science-based and risk-based regulatory practices, and urged “EPA to rescind the final rule revoking tolerances and consider continued agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos under its ongoing, normal-order registration review of chlorpyrifos.”
In an effort to block EPA’s decision to prohibit the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops, a coalition of farm groups announced this week they are suing the agency. The groups noted EPA issued an interim decision in 2020 that would have allowed the continued use of the chemical in certain regions on eleven crops – alfalfa, apple, asparagus, cherry, citrus, cotton, peach, soybean, sugarbeet, strawberry, and wheat. “Rather than modify tolerances consistent with its finding that EPA’s Designated Safe Uses are safe, EPA’s Final Rule revoked all tolerances for chlorpyrifos. EPA did not have any new data or scientific analyses to support this decision,” the lawsuit says.