U.S. and Mexican Fruit and Vegetable Pesticide Programs Differ

T-RCED-93-9: Published: Feb 18, 1993. Publicly Released: Feb 18, 1993.

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GAO discussed U.S. and Mexican pesticide standards and enforcement, focusing on differences in the two countries' allowable pesticide residue levels. GAO noted that: (1) the United States and Mexico have several differences in tolerances set for pesticide residues; (2) the countries have formed a working group to resolve tolerance differences for 58 pesticides that have Mexican tolerances for some commodities and no comparable U.S. tolerances; (3) 17 pesticides that have food-use tolerances in Mexico have no such tolerances in the United States; (4) the pesticide violation rate for Mexican produce were about twice as high as that for domestic produce; (5) the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) sampling and enforcement programs were limited by the lack of adequate inspection staff, limited information on foreign pesticide use, and the failure of importers to reexport or destroy adulterated produce; (6) Mexico has relied on the private sector to monitor exported produce, but it is establishing a national laboratory system to test for pesticide residues; and (7) FDA has provided technical assistance to Mexico, and some Mexican growers have adopted agricultural procedures that could reduce pesticide use.

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