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EPA Proposes Rule to Revise Pesticide Crop Grouping Regulations for Herbs and Spices

For Release: August 27, 2019

EPA is taking public comment on a proposed rule to expand and revise the pesticide crop grouping regulations.

With these revisions, EPA seeks to:
  • Enhance our ability to conduct food safety evaluations on herb and spice crops for tolerance-setting purposes;
  • Promote global harmonization of food safety standards;
  • Reduce regulatory burden; and
  • Ensure food safety for agricultural goods.

The proposed rule and related documents are available in docket EPA-HQ-OPP-2006-0766 at Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until October 28, 2019.

EPA sets tolerances, which are the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food, 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 whose residue data can be used to establish a tolerance for the entire group or subgroup.

EPA is proposing two new large groups — “Crop Group 25: Herb Group” and “Crop Group 26: Spice Group” — as well as several other technical amendments to the crop group system. We anticipate that lower-risk pesticides could come forward for group tolerances and registration on herb and spice crops because of the proposed crop groups. Additionally, fewer field trials would be needed for regulatory decision-making on many similar herb and spice crops.   

This proposed crop group rule is based on petitions submitted to EPA by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Interregional Research Project Number 4 and is the fifth in an ongoing series of revisions to the crop grouping regulations.