Challenges faced by the IR-4 Programme and US specialty crop growers

R. E. Holm, J. J. Baron, D. L. Kunkel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was enacted in August 1996 and required the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reassess all existing and new crop protection active substances using a new set of health and environmental standards to further protect infants and children. The initial fear that many minor or specialty crop use registrations would be lost without adequate replacements has largely been overcome by an aggressive programme by the International Research Project no. 4 (IR-4) in partnership with the EPA and the crop protection industry to register new, safer, reduced risk products for specialty crop pest control needs. Since the FQPA, the EPA has approved over 5600 new specialty crop uses resulting from IR-4 residue programmes. This amounts to about 56% of the over 10000 clearances received by the IR-4 programme in its 43 year history and about 50% of all new uses granted by the EPA since FQPA. The positive outcomes from these efforts have been partially negated by the lack of tolerances or Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) in countries to which US produce is exported. This has forced some US specialty crop growers to continue to use older, less desirable products. IR-4 has been addressing this challenge by cooperating in the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Pest Management Centre and Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency to harmonize MRLs through joint projects and regulatory reviews. IR-4 has also provided leadership for the International Crop Grouping Consulting Committee to harmonize specialty/minor crop groupings and representative crops for residue studies with the long-term goal being to globally harmonize MRLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-208
Number of pages5
JournalEPPO Bulletin
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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