Following Product Labels Peanut Notes No. 60 2023
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I am a part of a group that provides information to the American Peanut Council on the importance of pesticides in our production systems. My focus is the Virginia-Carolina region. The peanut industry in the US is working toward capturing and maintaining international markets. The European Union (EU) is one of those markets. MLR (Maximum Residue Levels) are an important element of polices in the EU relative to imported peanuts and peanut products. Some countries outside of the EU have similar regulatory policies. All this to say, the goal is to make food as safe as possible. This usually means there is a tide toward accepting lower levels or concentration of pesticide residues. I understand arguments on both sides of this issue.
As an industry, and in particular as growers, we need to use our pesticides based strictly on the manufacturer’s product label. This goes a very long way in insuring that residues in raw peanuts and peanut products will be low. Whenever we use pesticide rates that are higher than specified on the label, apply pesticides too often or apply pesticides too close to harvest (ignoring the pre-harvest interval), we take a chance of having higher concentrations of pesticide residues present. This creates issues when we try to capture markets. Especially markets that are very discriminating.
The equipment used to detect pesticide residues is very sophisticated and this allows very low levels of residue to be found. The question of risk of those residues is not what is often considered. The view of pesticide registrations and use vary considerably when you compare the US with the EU. None-the-less, we want as much share of the EU for peanuts as we can get.
My point is, as we seek as many markets as we can, we need to use our pesticides in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of residues being present. This is just a reminder as we go into the 2023 cropping season to adhere to product labels.