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October 7, 2021

MRL Compliance is Crucial to Export Success

Due to recent Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) violations on export shipments of various fresh produce commodities, Western Growers reminds its members that while the United States may have established tolerances on a particular crop protection compound other countries’ threshold limits may be lower or non-established.

MRL violations can trigger enhanced surveillance or test-and-hold protocols on perishable exports – not just on the individual shipper but sometimes on the entire exporting sector.

Both direct exporters and their grower-suppliers should review MRL requirements of the importing country to ensure compliance. Additionally, compound approval and MRLs are always subject to change, so it is important to track them frequently. Please refer to the Global MRL Database on our International Trade Assistance webpage.

It is essential that exporters communicate regularly with the individual growers and their field personnel about the need to select fruits, vegetables or tree nuts for harvest that will ensure compliance with the importing countries’ MRLs, including the review of spray records to confirm the dates and amounts of application. Growers should also consider moving up the timeframe of compound applications to ensure there is enough time for them to dissipate to acceptable residue levels.

Western Growers recommends that exporters adhere to the following procedures:

  1. Require your supplier (grower/packer) to provide a complete list identifying any pesticide/fungicide that has been applied either pre-harvest or post-harvest.
  2. Compare the list of pesticides/fungicides applied by the supplier against the database for the importing countries’ residue limit.
  3. Provide your supplier with the database information to ensure the shipment will comply with importing countries’ residue tolerance.
  4. Confirm that your supplier acknowledges that they have reviewed the appropriate database and is familiar with the residue tolerances of both the United States and that of the importing country prior to releasing the lot for shipment.

Please contact Tracey Chow at [email protected] or 202-704-7312 for more information.