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By Heather F. Collins, M.S. and Barbara A. Christianson

On January 10, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is opening a 60-day comment period requesting public comments on the sixth proposed rule in an ongoing series of revisions to the pesticide crop grouping regulations.

EPA states it is proposing revisions to its pesticide tolerance crop grouping regulations, which allow the establishment of tolerances for multiple related crops based on data from a representative set of crops. EPA proposes to amend the following crop groups:

  • Crop Group 6: Legume Vegetables;
  • Crop Group 7: Foliage of Legume Vegetables;
  • Crop Group 15: Cereal Grains; and
  • Crop Group 16: Forage, Fodder, and Straw of Cereal Grains.

The proposed rule includes changes to the terminology in the names of Crop Groups 6, 7, and 16 and the addition of commodities and modifications that increase efficiencies in assessing the risks of pesticides used on crops grown in and outside of the United States. The crop groups will now include certain minor or specialty crops, many of which have become more popular since the crop groups were first established.

EPA sets the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food (tolerances) as part of the process of regulating pesticides that may leave residues in food. Crop groups are established when residue data for certain representative crops are used to establish pesticide tolerances for a group of crops that are botanically or taxonomically related. Representative crops of a crop group or subgroup are those crops whose residue data can be used to establish a tolerance for the entire group or subgroup.

According to EPA, these revisions will:

  • Enhance EPA’s ability to conduct food safety evaluations for tolerance-setting purposes;
  • Promote global harmonization of food safety standards;
  • Reduce regulatory burden; and
  • Ensure food safety for agricultural goods.

Comments on the proposed rule are due on or before March 11, 2022, in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0766 at www.regulations.gov.


 

By Jason E. Johnston

On November 6, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule in the Federal Register that makes several changes to “Crop Group 19:  Herbs and Spices Group.”  85 Fed. Reg. 70976.  The original proposed rule, which was published on August 27, 2019 (84 Fed. Reg. 44804), was created in response to a petition developed by the International Crop Grouping Consulting Committee (ICGCC) workgroup that was submitted by the Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4).  EPA received comments from eight entities and revised the original proposed rule in response to those comments.

The major components of the new rule are a revision of the commodity definition for marjoram; the addition of three new commodity definitions for basil, edible flowers, and mint; and replacement of the existing “Crop Group 19:  Herbs and Spices Group” with two new expanded crop groups, “Crop Group 25:  Herb Group” and “Crop Group 26:  Spice Group.”  Recognizing that the existing combined Crop Group 19 Herbs and Spices Group limited the establishment of crop group tolerances, EPA created the two new separate crop groups to benefit herb and spice growers.  EPA states that the anticipated economic benefit of the new crop groups is estimated to be a cost savings of $51.8 million annually.

The crop groups in the final rule include even more commodities than those listed in the proposal.  Crop Group 25 includes 418 herb commodities directly and 25 indirectly through the modification of the definition of edible flowers in 40 C.F.R. Section 180.1. Crop Group 26 includes 205 spice commodities.  The final rule specifies all commodities in the new crop groups and the subgroups therein (i.e., 25A and 25B for fresh herbs and dried herbs) and provides updated representative commodities for each crop group and subgroup.  The effective date of the final rule is January 5, 2021.


 

By Jason E. Johnston

On August 27, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that makes several changes to the current “Crop Group 19:  Herbs and Spices Group.”  This latest proposal, which is the fifth in a series of crop group amendments, was created in response to a petition developed by the International Crop Group Consulting Committee (ICGCC) workgroup that was submitted by the Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4).  The goals of the crop group amendment program include reducing regulatory burden, coordination with international definitions, and removing barriers to trade.  The major components of this proposal are revision of the commodity definition for marjoram; addition of three new commodity definitions for basil, edible flowers, and mint; and replacement of the existing “Crop Group 19:  Herbs and Spices Group” with two new crop groups, “Crop Group 25:  Herb Group” and “Crop Group 26:  Spice Group.”  Recognizing that the existing combined Crop Group 19 Herb and Spice Group has limited the establishment of crop group tolerances, EPA has proposed creating the two new separate crop groups to benefit herb and spice growers.  The new crop groups are quite large, containing 317 herb commodities in Crop Group 25 and 166 spice commodities in Crop Group 26.  The proposal specifies all commodities in the new crop groups (and the subgroups therein, i.e., 25A and 25B for fresh herbs and dried herbs) and provides updated representative commodities for each crop group and subgroup.

The Federal Register notice requests that comments on the proposal be submitted on or before October 28, 2019.  The public can submit comments at www.regulations.gov in Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0766.