STC Number - 419

United States MRLs for chlorpyrifos

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: Israel
Supported by: Ecuador
First date raised: March 2017 G/SPS/R/86 paras. 3.5-3.7
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/USA/2912
Products covered: 080300 Bananas, including plantains, fresh or dried.
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Pesticides; International Standards / Harmonization; Human health; Food safety
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2017, Israel expressed its concern regarding the United States proposed rule to withdraw its food pesticide residue tolerances for chlorpyrifos. Following the notification of the proposed text in November 2016 (G/SPS/N/USA/2912), Israel had submitted comments to the United States and discussed the issue bilaterally at various fora. Israel explained that chlorpyrifos was produced in Israel, used on some 20 major crops exported to the United States, and considered an efficient and cost-effective broad spectrum pesticide. It was less disruptive to beneficial insects than alternative pesticides and a good rotational option. Also, for several important pests, growers had limited or no viable alternatives to chlorpyrifos. Israel noted that the United States' decision was based on three studies conducted in residential areas using chlorpyrifos for indoor pest control, which could cause hand-to-mouth contact as well as dermal or inhalation exposure. According to Israel, the results of these studies did not suggest that the relevant Codex MRLs (insecticide ID 17) were unsafe for agricultural products. Israel believed that the United States' deviation from the existing international standard was not scientifically justified. The United States needed to develop individual risk assessments on the use of chlorpyrifos for each agricultural crop of concern, taking into account all available scientific evidence as well as the objective to minimize negative trade effects.

Ecuador echoed Israel's concern, underlining that chlorpyrifos was broadly used worldwide and in Ecuador since 1989 on a variety of crops, including bananas majorly exported to the United States. Ecuador called for the United States to scientifically justify its measure and highlight the risks to human health, considering that the measure seemed to be based on studies carried out on the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos. Ecuador also asked if the United States would undertake individual risk assessments for different agricultural products based on Codex standards. Finally, Ecuador expressed a special concern with the adoption date of 31 March 2017 and the strong effects that it would have on trade.

The United States confirmed that all comments received would be considered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in finalizing the proposed measure. While the United States appreciated that many comments called on EPA to base its residue levels on Codex standards, it recalled the right of Members, in line with the SPS Agreement, to carry out their own risk assessments. Further information on the scientific assessments used was available in G/SPS/N/USA/2912.