In an adjustment to pesticide regulations years in the making, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule on November 6, 2020 revising and expanding the Agency’s pesticide tolerance crop grouping regulations for herbs and spices. These revisions incorporated and accepted many of the comments AHPA submitted in 2013 and again in 2019, requesting the addition of many herbal commodities that had not previously been included in EPA’s crop grouping system.
“The expansion of the scope of these crop groups reflects EPA’s evolution in commonsense pesticide regulation,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “The participation of many APHA member companies in identifying the numerous herbal crops that should be covered by this rule was essential to this regulatory process, and is greatly appreciated.”
Crop groups are lists of similar crops that allow the establishment of shared pesticide tolerances for all commodities within each crop group, permitting the use of identified, approved pesticides on those crops. The final rule converts the current Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group into two new crop groups, Crop Group 25: Herb Group and Crop Group 26: Spice Group, effective on January 5, 2021.
Between its proposed rule on this matter, issued on August 27, 2019, and last week’s final rule EPA agreed to add over 140 herbal commodities to new Crop Groups 25 and 26. The Agency also reported that another 105 commodities are either already included in or are intended to be added to these or other crop groups, and identified only 17 crops of those AHPA proposed, consisting mostly of seaweeds, several hemp commodities, and a few plants deemed to be toxic to humans, as not considered appropriate for inclusion within EPA crop groups.
In accordance with its mission to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products, AHPA will continue to ensure that the herbal product industry is well represented in ongoing communications with EPA in moving toward more rational pesticide regulations.