The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued two new rules relating to tolerances for pesticide residues on food under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The first rule establishes limits for the pesticide dinotefuran, a neonicotinoid insecticide. 77 Fed. Reg. 22,205 (9/12/12) EPA can establish such tolerances if it is reasonably certain that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the residue, including dietary and drinking water exposures. The rule limits residues to 0.2 parts per million (ppm) on low growing berries, 0.9 ppm on small vine-climbing fruit and peaches, 0.07 ppm on onion bulbs, and 6.0 ppm on onions. New dinotefuran limits also apply to watercress, tuberous vegetables and plucked tea leaves. The final rule supersedes previously existing tolerances for potatoes and grapes, and EPA therefore removes those prior limits.

The other rule expands the tolerance exemption for polyoxin D zinc salt when used as a fungicide in accordance with good agricultural practices. 77 Fed. Reg. 56,128 (9/12/12) EPA previously exempted almonds, cucurbit vegetables, fruiting vegetables, ginseng, grapes, pistachios, some fruits, potatoes, and strawberries from a tolerance limit for this fungicide. Expanding the exemption to all agricultural commodities when the fungicide is used in accordance with good agricultural practice, the final rule thus eliminates “the need to establish a maximum permissible level for residues of polyoxin D zinc.” The agency will accept objections to both rules and requests for hearings until November 13, 2012.