August 6, 2019

U.S. Celery Export Violations Found in Japan

Western Growers has been informed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that some recent shipments of U.S. celery to Japan have exceeded the country’s maximum residue level (MRL) tolerances on multiple separate incidents related to acephate and methamidophos.

Per current policy of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW), the violations have triggered a 30% ‘enhanced monitoring’ frequency at port. Should more MRL violations (e.g., exceedance) of the same compound be detected, MHLW is authorized to implement an enhanced hold-and-test inspection process on any and all U.S. celery shipments, not just the individual violator(s). The enhancement could go as high as 100% inspection and last as long as one year.

Western Growers is communicating with USDA and tracking this issue closely. At this time we strongly recommend to our members that currently, or planning to, ship celery to Japan to be aware of this enhanced inspection process and:

  • Communicate with necessary business associates (growers, shipper, broker, importer, buyer, etc)
  • Review any pre-shipment testing results, or consider instituting pre-shipment testing in the interim
  • Consider moving out the timeframe of these compounds’ application, to ensure there is enough time for them to dissipate to acceptable residue levels

As always, we encourage members with any kind of export business to review all current compounds being used and those compounds’ MRLs in destination markets. Many countries, like Japan, have much lower MRLs than the United States. Additionally, MRLs can always be subject to change, so it is important to track them frequently. Please refer to the Global MRL Database on WG’s International Trade Assistance webpage.

Please contact Tracey Chow at [email protected] or 202-296-0191 for more information.