HTML _ 93-510 - The Delaney Dilemma: Regulating Pesticide Residues in Foods - Seminar Proceedings, March 16, 1993
19-May-1993; Donna Vogt; 32 p.

Abstract: A provision in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the Delaney Clause, appears to lower risks in the setting of tolerances for pesticide residues. It prohibits any substance from being added to processed foods if it induces cancer in man or animals. In reality, the provision created a dilemma because the zero-risk statute makes it difficult to regulate pesticides. Because of the prescription of Delaney, tolerances (legal limits) are established differently for carcinogens and non-carcinogens and in raw and processed foods. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempted to regulate pesticides under a more consistent single standard which they called ¨negligible risk.¨ However, the Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in a ruling on Les vs. Reilly, disallowed the practice. Many Members of Congress support the concept of negligible risk, but have different opinions about what that means. On March 16, 1993, CRS sponsored a seminar which compared and contrasted different perspectives of the Delaney Dilemma. The speakers included William L. Jordan, Deputy Director, Policy and Special Products Staff, Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency; Catherine Carnevale, Acting Director of Executive Operations, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration; and Craig A. Reed, Director, Science Division, Agricultural Marketing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The perspective of one environmental group was presented by Erik D. Olson, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council. Juanita D. Duggan, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, National Food Processors Association, presented the food industry perspective. The report author served as moderator. The following report comes from the transcript of the proceedings at this seminar. Most of the major controversies are presented either by the speakers or in questions from the audience. There was some agreement over the goal that legal food should be safe food; however, speakers disagreed about whether it is currently so. EPA has not yet assessed what the impact will be of the decision by Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce zero-risk of the Delaney Clause. There were discussions over whether or not legislation should include a negligible risk standard at ¨one in a million,¨ or, if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) were doing enough sampling of food products to ensure that foods are complying with tolerance regulations. [read report]

Topics: Pesticides

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