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Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA)

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This law amends the two major pesticide laws: the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).

Summary of the Food Quality Protection Act

More Information

Related topics
Antimicrobial Pesticides
Food Safety

Related publications from the Ag Center
Food Production
Food Safety

Related laws and policies
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

Text of law and amendments to FIFRA and FFDCA 
Food Quality Protection Act
FQPA amendments to FIFRA
FQPA amendments to FFDCA

More information from EPA
Food Quality Protection Act of 1996
Framework for Addressing Key Science Issues Presented by FQPA
PR Notice 97-1: Agency Actions under the Requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act
Science Policies and Guidance for FQPA

More information from states Exit EPA
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) - Environmental Laws Affecting State Agriculture
EZregs - University of Illinois Extension Web site that identifies environmental regulations that pertain to specific agricultural and horticultural operations and practices in Illinois.

FQPA compliance and enforcement
Toxics and Pesticides Enforcement Division
Multimedia Enforcement Division

Health-Based Safety Standard for Pesticide Residues in Food

The new law establishes a strong, health-based safety standard for pesticide residues in all foods. It uses "a reasonable certainty of no harm" as the general safety standard:

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Special Provisions for Infants and Children

The new law incorporates language to implement key recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report, "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children":

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Limitations on Benefits Considerations

Unlike previous law, which contained an open-ended provision for the consideration of pesticide benefits when setting tolerances, the new law places specific limits on benefits considerations:

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Tolerance Reevaluation

Requires that all existing tolerances be reviewed within 10 years to make sure they meet the requirements of the new health-based safety standard.

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Endocrine Disruptors

Incorporates provisions for endocrine testing, and also provides new authority to require that chemical manufacturers provide data on their products, including data on potential endocrine effects.

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Includes enhanced enforcement of pesticide residue standards by allowing the Food and Drug Administration to impose civil penalties for tolerance violations.

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Right To Know

Requires distribution of a brochure in grocery stores on the health effects of pesticides, how to avoid risks, and which foods have tolerances for pesticide residues based on benefits considerations. Specifically recognizes a state's right to require warnings or labeling of food that has been treated with pesticides, such as California's Proposition 65.

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Uniformity of Tolerances

States may not set tolerance levels that differ from national levels unless the state petitions EPA for an exception, based on state-specific situations. National uniformity, however, would not apply to tolerances that included benefits considerations.

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Pesticide Reregistration Program

Reauthorizes and increases (from $14M to $16M per year) user fees necessary to complete the review of older pesticides to ensure they meet current standards. Requires tolerances to be reassessed as part of the reregistration program.

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Pesticide Registration Renewal

Requires EPA to periodically review pesticide registrations, with a goal of establishing a 15-year cycle, to ensure that all pesticides meet updated safety standards.

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Registration of Safer Pesticides

Expedites review of safer pesticides to help them reach the market sooner and replace older and potentially more risky chemicals.

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Minor Use Pesticides

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Antimicrobial Pesticides

Establishes new requirements to expedite the review and registration of antimicrobial pesticides. Ends regulatory overlap in jurisdiction over liquid chemical sterilants.

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EPA-NRDC Settlement Agreement

On August 3, 1999, EPA was sued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the United Farmworkers, and others in two separate actions: a suit challenging EPA's progress in meeting pesticide reregistration responsibilities, which was filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals; and a suit challenging EPA's compliance with deadlines for tolerance reassessment and establishing an endocrine disruptor screening and testing program, which was filed in the Northern District of CA. Both lawsuits were broad in scope and sought numerous deadlines for making progress on reregistration, tolerance reassessment, and implementation of an Endocrine Disruptors Screening Program.

The American Crop Protection Association and the Farm Bureau have intervened in both cases. In addition, the American Chemistry Council and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals have intervened in the District Court case regarding the endocrine disruptor screening and testing issues.

After negotiations with NRDC and the other plaintiffs, EPA and plaintiffs reached an agreement to settle both of the law suits. The terms of the agreement with NRDC et. al., are reflected in two documents; a consent decree and a settlement agreement.  These documents were filed with the Court on January 19, 2001. Interveners have expressed their opposition to the proposed consent decree and have asked the Court to order EPA to publish its proposed consent decree in the Federal Register for public comment.

EPA, NRDC, and the interveners participated in intense negotiations to address the Interveners' concerns. This resulted in a revised consent decree and a new directive from the EPA Administrator to the Pesticide Program to take additional measures to assure decisions are made in an open and transparent manner. On March 19, EPA submitted the revised  Consent Decree to the Court, and responded to the Interveners' objections that it has decided to continue its commitment to the proposed agreements.

Specifically, the revised agreement continues to include the following components:

On September 25, 2001, the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California approved the Consent Decree. The Court also dismissed the portion of NRDC's lawsuit concerning EPA's endocrine screening program based on a Settlement Agreement between EPA and NRDC and its co-plaintiffs.

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