Julie Adams and Caroline Stringer of the Almond Board
(second and third from left) hosted a delegation of
Japanese health authorities visiting California Almond
country recently to learn about pesticide use and
monitoring. They are accompanied by, left to right, Peter
Tabor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Takuya
Kondo and Koutarou Tomita, MHLW, Ronald Roy, FDA,
and Suguru Sato, USDA/FAS in the Almond Board offices.
In March, the Almond Board cooperated with FDA and USDA in hosting officials from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). The week-long visit to California provided these MHLW officials an opportunity to learn about U.S. efforts to monitor pesticide levels in food and how growers address different tolerance levels in export markets.
The “Almond Day” consisted of an overview of the industry’s approach to pest management, an orchard visit and a processing facility tour. The MHLW visitors were satisfied with the almond industry’s efforts, remarking that the data collected in the annual pesticide survey would be useful in cases in which a pesticide violation has occurred — and facilitating a return to normal import procedures.
It is important to keep in mind that pesticide tolerances (Maximum Residue Limits, or MRLs) often differ from market to market; therefore, pesticide applications that meet U.S. tolerances may not meet MRLs in export markets. Testing for pesticide residues has increased, and detections in a market like Japan can trigger increased surveillance for the entire region. ABC continues to cooperate with U.S. authorities on global harmonization of MRLs. To find information on different MRLs, visit MRLdatabase.com, which is maintained by USDA.