Differences in U.S. and Mexican Pesticide Standards and Enforcement

T-RCED-92-62: Published: Jul 9, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 1992.

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GAO discussed U.S. and Mexican pesticide standards and enforcement of allowable pesticide residues on produce exported to the United States. GAO noted that: (1) the requirements for registering pesticides and setting tolerances are similar in the United States and Mexico; (2) 58 food-use pesticides have tolerances in Mexico and the United States, but have Mexican tolerances for some commodities without comparable U.S. tolerances; (3) there are 17 pesticides that have food-use tolerances in Mexico but none in the United States, and resolving those differences will be difficult since those pesticides have never been registered in the United States and the Environmental Protection Agency has never reviewed data for them; (4) Mexico and the United States have different processes for ensuring the safety of produce entering the United States; (5) the Food and Drug Administration has a sampling program to monitor imports and a special program to test Mexican produce for pesticide residues, while the Mexican government generally has limited capabilities in monitoring the safety of exported produce; and (6) from fiscal year (FY) 1988 through FY 1991, few DDT violations have appeared in the Mexican produce sampling primarily because potential adverse health and environmental effects have reduced or eliminated DDT use in Mexico.

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