Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)
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This law amends the two major pesticide laws: the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).
Summary of the Food Quality Protection Act
- Health-Based Safety Standard for Pesticide Residues in Food
- Special Provisions for Infants and Children
- Limitations on Benefits Considerations
- Tolerance Reevaluation
- Endocrine Disruptors
- Right To Know
- Uniformity of Tolerances
- Pesticide Reregistration Program
- Pesticide Registration Renewal
- Registration of Safer Pesticides
- Minor Use Pesticides
- Antimicrobial Pesticides
- EPA-NRDC Settlement Agreement
Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
More information from EPA
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
Framework for Addressing Key Science Issues Presented by FQPA
PR Notice 97-1: Agency Actions under the Requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act
Science Policies and Guidance for FQPA
More information from states
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) - Environmental Laws Affecting State Agriculture
EZregs - University of Illinois Extension Web site that identifies environmental regulations that pertain to specific agricultural and horticultural operations and practices in Illinois.
Health-Based Safety Standard for Pesticide Residues in FoodThe new law establishes a strong, health-based safety standard for pesticide residues in all foods. It uses "a reasonable certainty of no harm" as the general safety standard:
- Sets a single, health-based standard, which eliminates longstanding problems posed by multiple standards for pesticides in raw and processed foods
- Requires EPA, when setting tolerances, to consider all non-occupational sources of exposure, including drinking water, and exposure to other pesticides with a common mechanism of toxicity.
Special Provisions for Infants and ChildrenThe new law incorporates language to implement key recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report, "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children":
- Requires an explicit determination that tolerances are safe for children
- Includes an additional safety factor of up to tenfold, if necessary, to account for uncertainty in data relative to children
- Requires consideration of children's special sensitivity and exposure to pesticide chemicals.
Limitations on Benefits ConsiderationsUnlike previous law, which contained an open-ended provision for the consideration of pesticide benefits when setting tolerances, the new law places specific limits on benefits considerations:
- Apply only to non-threshold effects of pesticides (e.g., carcinogenic effects); benefits cannot be taken into account for reproductive or other threshold effects
- Further limited by three "backstops" on the level of risk that could be offset by benefits considerations. The first is a limit on the acceptable risk in any one year -- this limitation greatly reduces the risks. The second limitation is on the lifetime risk, which would allow EPA to remove tolerances after specific phase-out periods. The third limitation is that benefits could not be used to override the health-based standard for children.
Tolerance ReevaluationRequires that all existing tolerances be reviewed within 10 years to make sure they meet the requirements of the new health-based safety standard.
Endocrine DisruptorsIncorporates provisions for endocrine testing, and also provides new authority to require that chemical manufacturers provide data on their products, including data on potential endocrine effects.
EnforcementIncludes enhanced enforcement of pesticide residue standards by allowing the Food and Drug Administration to impose civil penalties for tolerance violations.
Right To KnowRequires distribution of a brochure in grocery stores on the health effects of pesticides, how to avoid risks, and which foods have tolerances for pesticide residues based on benefits considerations. Specifically recognizes a state's right to require warnings or labeling of food that has been treated with pesticides, such as California's Proposition 65.
Uniformity of TolerancesStates may not set tolerance levels that differ from national levels unless the state petitions EPA for an exception, based on state-specific situations. National uniformity, however, would not apply to tolerances that included benefits considerations.
Pesticide Reregistration ProgramReauthorizes and increases (from $14M to $16M per year) user fees necessary to complete the review of older pesticides to ensure they meet current standards. Requires tolerances to be reassessed as part of the reregistration program.
Pesticide Registration RenewalRequires EPA to periodically review pesticide registrations, with a goal of establishing a 15-year cycle, to ensure that all pesticides meet updated safety standards.
Registration of Safer PesticidesExpedites review of safer pesticides to help them reach the market sooner and replace older and potentially more risky chemicals.
Minor Use Pesticides
- Establishes minor use programs within EPA and USDA to foster coordination on minor use regulations and policy, and provides for a revolving grant fund to support development of data necessary to register minor use pesticides
- Encourages minor use registrations through extensions for submitting pesticide residue data, extensions for exclusive use of data, flexibility to waive certain data requirements, and requiring EPA to expedite review of minor use applications. These incentives are coupled with safeguards to protect the environment.
Antimicrobial PesticidesEstablishes new requirements to expedite the review and registration of antimicrobial pesticides. Ends regulatory overlap in jurisdiction over liquid chemical sterilants.
EPA-NRDC Settlement AgreementOn August 3, 1999, EPA was sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Farmworkers, and others in two separate actions: a suit challenging EPA's progress in meeting pesticide reregistration responsibilities, which was filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; and a suit challenging EPA's compliance with deadlines for tolerance reassessment and establishing an endocrine disruptor screening and testing program, which was filed in the Northern District of CA. Both lawsuits were broad in scope and sought numerous deadlines for making progress on reregistration, tolerance reassessment, and implementation of an Endocrine Disruptors Screening Program.
The American Crop Protection Association and the Farm Bureau have intervened in both cases. In addition, the American Chemistry Council and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals have intervened in the District Court case regarding the endocrine disruptor screening and testing issues.
After negotiations with NRDC and the other plaintiffs, EPA and plaintiffs reached an agreement to settle both of the law suits. The terms of the agreement with NRDC et. al., are reflected in two documents; a consent decree and a settlement agreement. These documents were filed with the Court on January 19, 2001. Interveners have expressed their opposition to the proposed consent decree and have asked the Court to order EPA to publish its proposed consent decree in the Federal Register for public comment.
EPA, NRDC, and the interveners participated in intense negotiations to address the Interveners' concerns. This resulted in a revised consent decree and a new directive from the EPA Administrator to the Pesticide Program to take additional measures to assure decisions are made in an open and transparent manner. On March 19, EPA submitted the revised Consent Decree to the Court, and responded to the Interveners' objections that it has decided to continue its commitment to the proposed agreements.
Specifically, the revised agreement continues to include the following components:
- Establishes dates to conduct cumulative risk assessments for organophosphate pesticides
- Establishes dates to issue Reregistration Eligibility Decisions (REDs) or revised risk assessment for 11 specific pesticides
- Establishes dates for certain regulatory decisions (if necessary) for three pesticides
- Establishes dates to determine if certain classes of pesticides share a common mechanism of toxicity
- Continues efforts to establish a scientifically validated screening and testing program for potential endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
On September 25, 2001, the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California approved the Consent Decree. The Court also dismissed the portion of NRDC's lawsuit concerning EPA's endocrine screening program based on a Settlement Agreement between EPA and NRDC and its co-plaintiffs.
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) v. EPA - EPA Signs Settlement Agreement Regarding Endangered Species 2003