With more than 1.1 billion pounds of almonds shipped to over 90 countries last year, and a record crop expected this year, it is important to keep in mind that pesticide tolerances (maximum residue levels, or MRLs) often differ from one market to another. An application that may meet U.S. tolerances may not meet the MRL in an export market. Considerable research funded by the Almond Board of California has led to more emphasis on integrated pest management (IPM) practices, which has been honored on several occasions by the EPA with the agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Award, but appropriate use of pesticides can still be an issue in export markets.
The rate of testing for pesticide residues has generally increased in Asia and Europe. Detection of pesticide residues over the MRL in a market like Japan can trigger increased surveillance not only in that market, but in the entire region. ABC continues to cooperate with U.S. authorities on global harmonization of MRLs. To find information on different MRLs, please visit MRLdatabase.com, which is maintained by USDA.