Global Summit Promotes Building Capacity, Reduced Risk Pest Control Practices
For Release - December 21, 2007
(Rome, December 3-7, 2007)
Meeting in Rome earlier this month, participants at a Global Minor Use Summit developed key recommendations aimed at meeting farmers’ pest control needs while promoting high levels of consumer and environmental protection. Among the conclusions of the conference was a recommendation for building capacity in developing countries, especially with respect to biological and reduced-risk pesticides and integrated pest management (IPM) systems.
EPA joined with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to sponsor the conference, which brought together leading authorities from around the world to explore ways to address specialty (“minor”) crop issues on a global basis and exchange information about use of safer pesticides and other pest control practices.
“Specialty crops include most fruits and vegetables and are important to a healthy, varied diet,” noted EPA Assistant Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Increasingly, trade in food is global. This enables consumers to choose from a wider variety of foods, year-round. By working more effectively at a global level to share information and promote sound pest management for these crops, we will benefit consumers and farmers here and around the world.”
Although specialty crops account for approximately 40 percent of the U.S. food supply, the market for pest control products for individual crops may be relatively small. Manufacturers may lack sufficient economic incentive to develop the data required for review by regulatory agencies, particularly if data must be developed separately for each country. A major goal of the conference was to develop common approaches for developing and sharing data for review.
“Newer, often safer means of pest control are being developed as science advances, and EPA places a priority on review of reduced-risk pesticides,” Gulliford continued. “But we will not realize the full benefit of new approaches unless they are also approved in other countries, since American farmers may hesitate to use the newer products if they plan to export their crops.”
“We are seeking harmonization without lowering the high food safety standards that American consumers demand, and our laws require. We want to achieve greater consistency at the international level with those high standards, and we believe farmers and consumers in other countries, particularly developing countries, will also benefit from this work.”
Additional information about the Summit is available at http://www.fao.org/ag/AGP/AGPP/Pesticid/JMPR/GMUS/GMUS.htm.
Learn more about EPA’s work with foreign governments, international organizations, and stakeholders to ensure high levels of protection for human health and the environment at http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/international/, including its participation in international agreements designed to reduce risks from pesticides; partnerships with other national pesticide regulatory authorities and technical organizations to facilitate routine sharing of scientific resources; and assistance given to foreign countries in complying with U.S. and international trade requirements.