The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a draft of another revision to pesticide crop groupings. A 60-day public comment period has been opened to gather public feedback. The latest announcement is the sixth in an ongoing series of related regulatory changes for crop groups to continue over the next several years. The regulations dictate tolerance levels for pesticides for crop groups based on data from a representative set of crops. Comments on the revisions must be received on or before March 11.
The crop grouping parameters would be amended for Groups 6, 7, 15 and 16. EPA is proposing updating “Crop Group 6: Legume Vegetables (Succulent or Dried)” to a new crop group “Crop Group 6-XX Legume Vegetable Group.” A total of 121 commodities would be classified within the group, including several new types of beans and peas. The number of subgroups within Crop Group 6 would also be expanded. Proposed revisions would also affect foliage of legume vegetables, along with cereal grains, and the forage, fodder, and straw of cereal grains. EPA is also proposing amendments to the associated commodity definitions
According to EPA, the revisions to the crop groupings are intended to reduce regulatory burdens while also ensuring food safety for agricultural goods. The proposed changes are also purportedly aimed at enhancing EPA’s ability to conduct food safety evaluations for tolerance-setting purposes. EPA is also seeking to promote global harmonization of food safety standards through the new revisions.
EPA has indicated that the latest proposed revisions should benefit minor crop producers as well as pesticide registrants. With lower registration costs, EPA believes that more products will be registered and become available as additional tools for producers. Pesticide registrants would also likely benefit as a result of expanded markets for products, leading to increased sales. While EPA notes there are some uncertainties, the cost savings related to the proposed amendments are estimated at approximately $204.6 million annually.