21 U.S.C. § 346a - Tolerances and exemptions for pesticide chemical residues

Cite as:21 U.S.C. § 346a
Currency:Current through P.L. 115-338
 
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(a) Requirement for tolerance or exemption

(1) General rule

Except as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), any pesticide chemical residue in or on a food shall be deemed unsafe for the purpose of section 342(a)(2)(B) of this title unless-

(A) a tolerance for such pesticide chemical residue in or on such food is in effect under this section and the quantity of the residue is within the limits of the tolerance; or

(B) an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance is in effect under this section for the pesticide chemical residue.

For the purposes of this section, the term "food", when used as a noun without modification, shall mean a raw agricultural commodity or processed food.

(2) Processed food

Notwithstanding paragraph (1)-

(A) if a tolerance is in effect under this section for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a raw agricultural commodity, a pesticide chemical residue that is present in or on a processed food because the food is made from that raw agricultural commodity shall not be considered unsafe within the meaning of section 342(a)(2)(B) of this title despite the lack of a tolerance for the pesticide chemical residue in or on the processed food if the pesticide chemical has been used in or on the raw agricultural commodity in conformity with a tolerance under this section, such residue in or on the raw agricultural commodity has been removed to the extent possible in good manufacturing practice, and the concentration of the pesticide chemical residue in the processed food is not greater than the tolerance prescribed for the pesticide chemical residue in the raw agricultural commodity; or

(B) if an exemption for the requirement for a tolerance is in effect under this section for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a raw agricultural commodity, a pesticide chemical residue that is present in or on a processed food because the food is made from that raw agricultural commodity shall not be considered unsafe within the meaning of section 342(a)(2)(B) of this title.

(3) Residues of degradation products

If a pesticide chemical residue is present in or on a food because it is a metabolite or other degradation product of a precursor substance that itself is a pesticide chemical or pesticide chemical residue, such a residue shall not be considered to be unsafe within the meaning of section 342(a)(2)(B) of this title despite the lack of a tolerance or exemption from the need for a tolerance for such residue in or on such food if-

(A) the Administrator has not determined that the degradation product is likely to pose any potential health risk from dietary exposure that is of a different type than, or of a greater significance than, any risk posed by dietary exposure to the precursor substance;

(B) either-

(i) a tolerance is in effect under this section for residues of the precursor substance in or on the food, and the combined level of residues of the degradation product and the precursor substance in or on the food is at or below the stoichiometrically equivalent level that would be permitted by the tolerance if the residue consisted only of the precursor substance rather than the degradation product; or

(ii) an exemption from the need for a tolerance is in effect under this section for residues of the precursor substance in or on the food; and

(C) the tolerance or exemption for residues of the precursor substance does not state that it applies only to particular named substances and does not state that it does not apply to residues of the degradation product.

(4) Effect of tolerance or exemption

While a tolerance or exemption from the requirement for a tolerance is in effect under this section for a pesticide chemical residue with respect to any food, the food shall not by reason of bearing or containing any amount of such a residue be considered to be adulterated within the meaning of section 342(a)(1) of this title.

(b) Authority and standard for tolerance

(1) Authority

The Administrator may issue regulations establishing, modifying, or revoking a tolerance for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food-

(A) in response to a petition filed under subsection (d); or

(B) on the Administrator's own initiative under subsection (e).

As used in this section, the term "modify" shall not mean expanding the tolerance to cover additional foods.

(2) Standard

(A) General rule

(i) Standard

The Administrator may establish or leave in effect a tolerance for a pesticide chemical residue in or on a food only if the Administrator determines that the tolerance is safe. The Administrator shall modify or revoke a tolerance if the Administrator determines it is not safe.

(ii) Determination of safety

As used in this section, the term "safe", with respect to a tolerance for a pesticide chemical residue, means that the Administrator has determined that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue, including all anticipated dietary exposures and all other exposures for which there is reliable information.

(iii) Rule of construction

With respect to a tolerance, a pesticide chemical residue meeting the standard under clause (i) is not an eligible pesticide chemical residue for purposes of subparagraph (B).

(B) Tolerances for eligible pesticide chemical residues

(i) Definition

As used in this subparagraph, the term "eligible pesticide chemical residue" means a pesticide chemical residue as to which-

(I) the Administrator is not able to identify a level of exposure to the residue at which the residue will not cause or contribute to a known or anticipated harm to human health (referred to in this section as a "nonthreshold effect");

(II) the lifetime risk of experiencing the nonthreshold effect is appropriately assessed by quantitative risk assessment; and

(III) with regard to any known or anticipated harm to human health for which the Administrator is able to identify a level at which the residue will not cause such harm (referred to in this section as a "threshold effect"), the Administrator determines that the level of aggregate exposure is safe.

(ii) Determination of tolerance

Notwithstanding subparagraph (A)(i), a tolerance for an eligible pesticide chemical residue may be left in effect or modified under this subparagraph if-

(I) at least one of the conditions described in clause (iii) is met; and

(II) both of the conditions described in clause (iv) are met.

(iii) Conditions regarding use

For purposes of clause (ii), the conditions described in this clause with respect to a tolerance for an eligible pesticide chemical residue are the following:

(I) Use of the pesticide chemical that produces the residue protects consumers from adverse effects on health that would pose a greater risk than the dietary risk from the residue.

(II) Use of the pesticide chemical that produces the residue is necessary to avoid a significant disruption in domestic production of an adequate, wholesome, and economical food supply.

(iv) Conditions regarding risk

For purposes of clause (ii), the conditions described in this clause with respect to a tolerance for an eligible pesticide chemical residue are the following:

(I) The yearly risk associated with the nonthreshold effect from aggregate exposure to the residue does not exceed 10 times the yearly risk that would be allowed under subparagraph (A) for such effect.

(II) The tolerance is limited so as to ensure that the risk over a lifetime associated with the nonthreshold effect from aggregate exposure to the residue is not greater than twice the lifetime risk that would be allowed under subparagraph (A) for such effect.

(v) Review

Five years after the date on which the Administrator makes a determination to leave in effect or modify a tolerance under this subparagraph, and thereafter as the Administrator deems appropriate, the Administrator shall determine, after notice and opportunity for comment, whether it has been demonstrated to the Administrator that a condition described in clause (iii)(I) or clause (iii)(II) continues to exist with respect to the tolerance and that the yearly and lifetime risks from aggregate exposure to such residue continue to comply with the limits specified in clause (iv). If the Administrator determines by such date that such demonstration has not been made, the Administrator shall, not later than 180 days after the date of such determination, issue a regulation under subsection (e)(1) to modify or revoke the tolerance.

(vi) Infants and children

Any tolerance under this subparagraph shall meet the requirements of subparagraph (C).

(C) Exposure of infants and children

In establishing, modifying, leaving in effect, or revoking a tolerance or exemption for a pesticide chemical residue, the Administrator-

(i) shall assess the risk of the pesticide chemical residue based on-

(I) available information about consumption patterns among infants and children that are likely to result in disproportionately high consumption of foods containing or bearing such residue among infants and children in comparison to the general population;

(II) available information concerning the special susceptibility of infants and children to the pesticide chemical residues, including neurological differences between infants and children and adults, and effects of in utero exposure to pesticide chemicals; and

(III) available information concerning the cumulative effects on infants and children of such residues and other substances that have a common mechanism of toxicity; and

(ii) shall-

(I) ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure to the pesticide chemical residue; and

(II) publish a specific determination regarding the safety of the pesticide chemical residue for infants and children.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Administrator, shall conduct surveys to document dietary exposure to pesticides among infants and children. In the case of threshold effects, for purposes of clause (ii)(I) an additional tenfold margin of safety for the pesticide chemical residue and other sources of exposure shall be applied for infants and children to take into account potential pre- and post-natal toxicity and completeness of the data with respect to exposure and toxicity to infants and children. Notwithstanding such requirement for an additional margin of safety, the Administrator may use a different margin of safety for the pesticide chemical residue only if, on the basis of reliable data, such margin will be safe for infants and children.

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