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Notifying the Public about Pesticide Tolerances

EPA publishes notices in the Federal Register for several tolerance-related actions:

Notice of Filing of a Petition to Establish a Tolerance

EPA receives petitions from pesticide registrants and others, such as the USDA Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) proposing the establishment and/or amendment of regulations for residues of pesticide chemicals in or on various food commodities under section 408 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

  • We determine that the petition contains data or information regarding the requirements for such petitions.
  • We do not fully evaluate the sufficiency of the submitted data or whether the data support granting of the petition before making the petition available to the public for comment.
  • Additional data may be needed before we rule on the petition.

A summary of the pesticide petition is published in the Federal Register, as required by section 408(d)(3) of the FFDCA. The summary of the petition is prepared by the petitioner and represents the views of the petitioner. We publish the petition summary verbatim without editing it in any way. The petition summary also announces the availability of a description of the analytical methods available to EPA for the detection and measurement of the pesticide chemical residues or an explanation of why no such method is needed.

View template for Petitioner Summary of Pesticide Petition for EPA's Notice of Filing.

We accept comments on the petition for 30 days after Federal Register publication. These comments are entered in the docket for the pesticide, and we consider them in its review of the petition.

Establishing Tolerances and Tolerance Exemptions

EPA sets tolerances, which are maximum amounts of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on foods, after conducting a risk assessment. In some cases, a pesticide ingredient qualifies for an exemption from the requirement for a tolerance. More information about how we set tolerances.

The established tolerances and exemptions are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations. When a new tolerance or exemption is established, we publish a rule in the Federal Register. Note that any changes to the established tolerance or exemption will be published in the Federal Register and reflected in the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents should be consulted if current information is needed.

Emergency Exemptions under Section 18 of FIFRA

State or federal agencies may request permission for unregistered use of a pesticide for a limited time when an emergency condition exists. We review these requests against specific criteria.

If the exemption program involves the treatment of agricultural goods, we will establish formal tolerances (maximum allowable residue levels) to cover any pesticide residues in food that may result. Tolerances established for emergency exemption uses are time- limited, corresponding to the time that treated commodities might be found in channels of trade.

Read more about emergency exemptions.

Revoking Tolerances

EPA sets the tolerance for each pesticide that may be found on foods. When circumstances require, we can revoke tolerances to better safeguard public health and the environment. We may revoke pesticide tolerances for any of several reasons.

Read more about revoking pesticide tolerances.

Tolerance Objections

Under section 408(g)(2)(A) of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, any person may file objections with EPA within 60 days of issuance of a final tolerance regulation. Such person may also request a public evidentiary hearing on the objections. Under EPA regulations, EPA must publish an order setting forth its determination on each of the objections. Such order must contain EPA's reasons for its determination. If, based on the objections, EPA determines that the tolerance regulation should be modified or revoked, EPA will publish by order any revisions to the regulation.