Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Apple IPM Transition Project

Pesticide Residue Tolerances (MRL)


US Tolerances

Within the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating agricultural chemicals and setting the tolerance, or Maximum Residue Limit (MRL), for the amount of pesticide residue that remains in or on food crops marketed in the USA. When setting the MRL for a pesticide, the EPA must consider the toxicity of the pesticide and its break-down products, how much and how often the pesticide is applied, and how much of the residue remains in or on the food by the time it reaches market and is prepared. The EPA tolerances apply to both food grown within the US and food imported into this country. For more information about how EPA sets MRL's visit their web page: EPA Pesticide Tolerances. To see the table of US MRL's posted by the Northwest Horticultural Council visit their web page: USA MRL's.

International Tolerances (Codex MRL's)

The maximum residue tolerances for commodities being exported to other countries were established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Some countries have the same MRL's as the US, but others are stricter. Its important to know the MRL's for the country you wish to market your fruit. The Northwest Horticulture Council lists a table of Codex MRL's on their web site. You can also search the MRL database at the official Codex web site or visit the USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service's MRL web site to search their database.

DAS MRL Database

With the increased pesticide MRL testing being conducted in such markets as Taiwan and Korea, knowledge of MRLs has become a top priority for producers and shippers. Part of this project was to develop an MRL database in conjunction with NHC that would integrated into DAS. Although work on this systen is on-going, it has now been full integrated into  the WSU-DAS online system. It allows useres to automatically look up the known MRL information for the pesticides listed in the crop protection guide where DAS derives its pesticide information. For more information visit the DAS website.

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