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April 21, 2016

U.S. Exporters Not in Compliance with Taiwanese Pesticide Residue Limits and Cadmium Standard

Due to recent Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) and cadmium standard violations on shipments to Taiwan, Western Growers reminds members that while the U.S. may have established tolerances on a particular pesticide/fungicide, other countries’ threshold limits may be lower or non-established. Such violations will not only place the individual shipper on enhanced surveillance, but in many cases will increase the surveillance of the entire industry when exporting to Taiwan.

To assist WG members with export issues, Western Growers has created an International Trade webpage. Specifically addressing the question on MRLs, the International Trade webpage provides a link to the USDA MRL Database, which gives both U.S. and foreign country MRL requirements.

Shippers who directly export and growers who sell to exporters are urged to consult the WG International Trade webpage to access the MRL Database to review MRL requirements of the importing country to ensure compliance.

The most recent notice identified arugula and baby greens as commodities exceeding Taiwan’s MRL for Famoxadone. Kale shipments exceeded Taiwan’s MRL for Flonicamid. In both cases Taiwan has an MRL of 0.01 ppm, while the U.S. has an established MRL of 25 ppm.

Famoxadone / Flonicamid

For pesticide and fungicide, Western Growers recommends that exporters strictly 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 Taiwan’s residue limit.

3. Provide your supplier with the database information to ensure the shipment will be within Taiwan’s residue tolerance.

4. Confirm that your supplier acknowledges that they have reviewed the appropriate database and is familiar with the pesticide/fungicide tolerances of both the U.S. and Taiwan prior to releasing the lot for shipment.

It is essential that exporters communicate regularly with the individual growers and their field personnel about the need to select fruits and/or vegetables for harvest that will ensure compliance with Taiwan’s MRLs, including the review of spray records to confirm the dates and amounts of application.


Additionally, export shipments of romaine and spring mix salad were found to exceed Taiwan’s standard for cadmium.  The cadmium on Romaine was found at 0.4 ppm, and the spring mix salad was measured at 0.3ppm, while Taiwan’s standard is set at 0.2 ppm.

Agricultural soils often contain cadmium; the main source of cadmium in most agricultural soils is the parent material from which the soil has been formed. Since crop cadmium uptake is closely related to soil cadmium concentrations, it is important to know the soil cadmium concentration of fields.

For cadmium, Western Growers recommends that growers and exporters review the Guidance for Soil Collection for Cadmium Analysis as well as the Guide for Developing Best Management Practices  to Reduce Cadmium Uptake in Spinach.

Again, it is imperative that you not release a shipment for export until verifying any potential residue levels against those of the importing country.

For more information, please contact Ken Gilliland at (949) 885-2267.