7 July 2015
US EPA Establishes MRLs for Fenazaquin in, or on, Almonds and Cherries
Regulation 40 CFR 180.632 has been amended to establish tolerances for residues of fenazaquin in or on almonds and cherries. It entered into force on 6 May, 2015. Objections and requests for hearings must be received before 6 July, 2015.
Fenazaquin (IUPAC name: 4-tert-butylphenethyl quinazolin-4yl ether) belongs to the quinazoline group of pesticides. It is widely used to control mites and insects that attack cultivated plants by interrupting the NADH: ubiquinone oxidoreductase that is involved in the transfer of electrons in the mitochondrial respiratory chain of insects. This compound is well translocated within plants and rapidly degraded by photolysis on the surface of pome and citrus fruits. A large number of metabolites are accumulated in peel and bound to the cutin fraction.
To ensure human health and food safety, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) allows the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to establish maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides. These limits are defined using the available scientific data and other relevant information to support a risk assessment for all anticipated dietary exposures in various groups of consumers, including infants and children. To harmonise pesticide MRLs with international standards, the US EPA mainly considers the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) standard, according to the requirements of the US Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Unfortunately, CAC has not set MRLs for fenazaquin.
The revised MRLs for fenazaquin follow an application from a grower to increase it. The applicant submitted a pesticide petition to review the supporting data and amend the MRLs of fenazaquin in cherries from 1.5 ppm to 2 ppm and in almond hulls from 0.6 ppm to 4.0 ppm. Based on this data, fenazaquin residue, and its metabolites in humans at the proposed level for the specific products, has not been found to be mutagenic, genotoxic, neurotoxic, or immunotoxic. To comply with US regulations, agricultural producers and food manufacturers must analyse pesticide residues using high performance liquid chromatography – electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The presence of fenazaquin and its metabolites should not exceed the MRLs shown in the following table. Please click here for more details.
What do the changes mean?
This update has the potential to affect agricultural producers, food manufacturers, and pesticide manufacturers. All almonds and cherries destined for the US must, with effect from 6 May, meet the new MRLs, as listed in the above table. As the MRLs have been increased, this should have no immediate impact, but if in doubt, food producers and manufacturers should seek professional advice.
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