Posts Tagged: pesticides
Last month, a California grape farmer was fined $10,000 for using a pesticide in violation of the label, then packing and attempting to sell the tainted fruit. DPR detected the residues of a pesticide on the produced that was not registered for use on grapes.
Cases like this are rare in California but remind growers how important it is to apply pesticides correctly by following all pesticide label directions. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) runs the most extensive Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program in the nation and is hard at work ensuring that the fruit and vegetables we purchase and consume are free from illegal pesticide residues.
Understanding and following label instructions is the focus of a new online course developed by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM).
The program, Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues, is targeted to those who apply pesticides or make pesticide recommendations. It explains what pesticide residues are, how they are monitored, and highlights important residue-related information from several sections of pesticide labels. In addition, the course identifies the following as the most important factors leading to illegal residues:
- Using a pesticide on a crop for which it is not registered
- Applying pesticides at an incorrect rate
- Ignoring preharvest intervals, re-treatment intervals, or plantback restrictions
Course participants are presented with several real-life scenarios. They must search through actual pesticide labels to determine if the scenario illustrates proper use of pesticides or if the described situation could potentially lead to illegal residues.
The overall goal of this course is to have participants follow pesticide label instructions when they return to the field. Following the label can eliminate incidences of illegal pesticide use.
Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues is published just in time for pest control advisers and pesticide applicators who are still a few units short to renew their licenses or certificates with DPR. The course has been approved for two hours of Pesticide Laws and Regulations continuing education units (CEUs) from DPR and costs $40. If you don't need CEUs, but are still interested in viewing the course content, check it out for free on YouTube.
DPR recommends that renewal packets be submitted before Nov. 1 in order to receive your renewed license or certificate by Dec. 31, as the processing time can take up to 60 days. For additional online courses that UC IPM offers, visit the online training page.
Extension apiculturist emeritus Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, "retired" in June of 2014 after 38 years of...
Honey bees laden with pollen returning to their colony. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
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A bee breeder's queen cells. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
As consumers, we put a lot of care into the food we buy. We tend to trust that the produce we purchase at the local grocery store is free of pesticides and safe to eat.
Traces of pesticide residue are normal and even expected after pesticides are applied to food crops, but by the time produce is ready to be sold, purchased, and consumed, residues are usually far below the legal limit.
In its latest report from 2013, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) reported that there was little or no detectable pesticide residue in 97.8 percent of all California-grown produce. This demonstrates a strong pesticide regulation program and pesticide applicators that apply pesticides safely and legally. However, there have been instances in California where a pesticide not registered for a specific crop has been used unintentionally, resulting in illegal residues and eventually crop loss and destruction.
The Environmental Protection Agency sets tolerances for the maximum amount of pesticide residue that can legally be allowed to remain on or in food.
DPR regularly monitors domestic and imported produce for pesticide residues and is considered the most extensive state residue-monitoring program in the nation.
The primary way pesticide applicators can assure that they make proper applications and avoid illegal pesticide residues is to follow the pesticide label. The UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) put together a 26-page card set in English and Spanish on understanding pesticide labels. Although intended primarily for pesticide handlers, applicators, safety trainers, and pest control advisers, these cards can be useful for anyone who applies pesticides in urban or agricultural settings. The cards explain when to read the label, describe what kind of information can be found in each section of a pesticide label, and point out specific instruction areas that will help applicators apply pesticides safely and avoid illegal pesticide residues.
To download copies of the card set in English or in Spanish, see the UC IPM web site.
Author: Cheryl Reynolds
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Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen (now emeritus, shows visitors the inside of a hive at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Extension apiculturist (now retired) Eric Mussen explains bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Inside the hive: the queen bee goes about laying eggs as worker bees tend to her needs and the needs of the colony. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)