The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) Background
In 1996, Congress unanimously passed landmark pesticide food safety legislation supported by the Administration and a broad coalition of environmental, public health, agricultural and industry groups. President Clinton promptly signed the bill on August 3, 1996, and the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 became law (P.L. 104-170, formerly known as H.R. 1627).
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EPA regulates pesticides under two major federal statutes:
- Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA registers pesticides for use in the United States and prescribes labeling and other regulatory requirements to prevent unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment.
- Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), EPA establishes tolerances (maximum legally permissible levels) for pesticide residues in food.
Tolerances are enforced by the Department of Health and Human Services/Food and Drug Administration (HHS/FDA) for most foods , U.S. Department of Agriculture/Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA/FSIS) for meat, poultry, and some egg products and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Office of of Pest Management Policy.
For over two decades, there have been efforts to update and resolve inconsistencies in the two major pesticide statutes, but consensus on necessary reforms remained elusive. The 1996 law represented a major breakthrough, amending both major pesticide laws to establish a more consistent, protective regulatory scheme, grounded in sound science by:
- mandating a single, health-based standard for all pesticides in all foods;
- providing special protections for infants and children;
- expediting approval of safer pesticides;
- creating incentives for the development and maintenance of effective crop protection tools for American farmers; and
- requiring periodic re-evaluation of pesticide registrations and tolerances to ensure that the scientific data supporting pesticide registrations will remain up to date in the future.
The entire text of the FQPA (Public Law 104-170, Aug. 3, 1996 (PDF) (50 pp, 251 KB, About PDF) is available as well as an overview of the law's major highlights. More information is also available about other federal laws that direct EPA's pesticide activities.
FQPA changed the way EPA sets residue limits (tolerances) for pesticides on foods under FFDCA.
FQPA changed the way EPA reviews and approves pesticides.
As a result of the sweeping changes FQPA required of EPA's pesticide program, the law also raised some challenging implementation issues and deadlines.
- PR Notice 97-1 Agency Actions under the Requirements of the Food Quality Protection Act (Pesticide Regulation Notice)
- 1996 Food Quality Protection Act Implementation Plan (PDF) (3/97) (48 pp, 284K, About PDF)
- Accomplishments under FQPA
- Implementation of Requirements under FQPA
- FQPA Implementation Activities
- In September 2001, a Consent Decree filed by EPA in response to legal challenges brought by NRDC and other groups was approved, establishing timeframes for completing certain aspects of FQPA implementation, including various pesticide tolerance reassessment and reregistration actions and decisions. Information on this Consent Decree (PDF) (29pp, 245KB, About PDF) is also available on our Web Site.
OPP seeks stakeholder consultation and public involvement as a critical step in making the federal pesticide programs work. A number of Federal Advisory Committees help EPA engage public stakeholders. These committees include:
- Food Safety Advisory Committee (FSAC) provided a forum for stakeholders to discuss pesticide regulation, policies, and implementation. FSAC Final Report (1996)
- Endocrine Disruptors Screening & Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC) advises EPA on the screening and testing of endocrine disruptors, as required by the FQPA.
- FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) and Scientific Advisory Board