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Highlights of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996

Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act Provisions (FFDCA)

Health-Based Safety Standard for Pesticide Residues in Food: The new law establishes a strong, health-based safety standard for pesticide residues in all foods. It uses "a reasonable certainty of no harm" as the general safety standard.

Special Provisions for Infants and Children: The new law incorporates language to implement key recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report, "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children."

Limitations on Benefits Considerations: Unlike previous law, which contained an open-ended provision for the consideration of pesticide benefits when setting tolerances, the new law places specific limits on benefits considerations.

Tolerance Reevaluation: Requires that all existing tolerances be reviewed within 10 years to make sure they meet the requirements of the new health-based safety standard.

Endocrine Disruptors: Incorporates provisions for endocrine testing, and also provides new authority to require that chemical manufacturers provide data on their products, including data on potential endocrine effects.

Enforcement: Includes enhanced enforcement of pesticide residue standards by allowing the Food and Drug Administration to impose civil penalties for tolerance violations.

Right to Know: Requires distribution of a brochure in grocery stores on the health effects of pesticides, how to avoid risks, and which foods have tolerances for pesticide residues based on benefits considerations. Specifically recognizes a state's right to require warnings or labeling of food that has been treated with pesticides, such as California's Proposition 65.

Uniformity of Tolerances: States may not set tolerance levels that differ from national levels unless the state petitions EPA for an exception, based on state-specific situations. National uniformity, however, would not apply to tolerances that included benefits considerations.

Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Provisions (FIFRA)

Pesticide Reregistration Program: Reauthorizes and increases (from $14M to $16M per year) user fees necessary to complete the review of older pesticides to ensure they meet current standards. Requires tolerances to be reassessed as part of the reregistration program.

Pesticide Registration Renewal: Requires EPA to periodically review pesticide registrations, with a goal of establishing a 15-year cycle, to ensure that all pesticides meet updated safety standards.

Registration of Safer Pesticides: Expedites review of safer pesticides to help them reach the market sooner and replace older and potentially more risky chemicals.

Minor Use Pesticides:

Antimicrobial Pesticides: Establishes new requirements to expedite the review and registration of antimicrobial pesticides. Ends regulatory overlap in jurisdiction over liquid chemical sterilants.

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