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Pesticide News Story: Import Tolerance Data Requirements Detailed in NAFTA Guidance

For Release: April 6, 2006

In an April 5, 2006 , Federal Register notice, EPA has announced the availability of detailed guidance on data requirements in the U.S. and Canada for establishing import tolerances, or maximum pesticide residue levels allowed in or on food or feed commodities imported from other countries. The guidance is consistent with the goals of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and does not change U.S. data requirements for obtaining import tolerances in this country. Import tolerances must meet the same food safety standards as other tolerances established in the U.S. This common approach to the establishment of import tolerances/Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) is expected to promote trade between North America and the rest of the world and maintain North American high standards for food safety. The common set of data requirements presented in the guidance document typically results in a harmonized data set, as well as a more efficient and cost effective review process for obtaining import tolerances in North America.

The NAFTA guidance document explains the product chemistry, residue chemistry, and toxicology data required to establish import tolerances/MRLs in the U.S. and Canada . Mexico is not participating in the project at this time. Petitioners must still submit separate import tolerance/MRL petitions to the U.S. and Canada , and must adhere to each country’s specific formatting and other requirements. Canada and the U.S. encourage the concurrent submission of petitions so that joint review projects can be initiated. Joint review of petitions will help harmonize the setting of import tolerances in Canada and the U.S. , promoting free trade within North America .

In developing this final guidance, EPA considered comments received on a proposed version of the NAFTA import tolerance guidance document, published in the Federal Register on April 16, 2003 . This final guidance document completes the NAFTA project on import tolerances. EPA’s Federal Register notices are available on the Agency’s website at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr. The NAFTA import tolerance guidance document is available on EPA’s NAFTA Technical Working Group website at http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/international/naftatwg/, and a Q & A document on the Agency’s NAFTA import tolerance guidance is available at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/factsheets/naftaqa.htm. For additional information, see docket number OPP-2002-0281 at http://www.regulations.gov.


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