SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 081/17

SafeGuardS Orange fruit and slices

Regulation 40 CFR 180.435 has been amended to establish tolerance levels for Deltamethrin in or on oranges, dried pulp and citrus oil. It entered into force on April 20, 2017. Objections and requests for hearing must be received before June 19, 2017.

Deltamethrin is a semi-synthetic Type II pyrethroid. It belongs to a group of pyrethroid insecticides.  Recently, pyrethroids have increasingly been used to replace organophosphate pesticides that are being phased out due to their persistent toxic effects to humans. As pyrethroids can disrupt the voltage-gated sodium channel which leads to the death of a variety of insects, they are widely used as a field-treatment for crops, the protection of stored products and hygienic treatments in houses.

Although Deltamethrin is thought to be safe for humans, long-term health effect always needs to be considered. To ensure residues in foods remain at US safety levels, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has established tolerance levels for this pesticide, including its metabolite, in foods and feeds [1]  Out of date food consumption information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding what Americans eat and a lack of sufficient data for Deltamethrin use in or on imported oranges and citrus foods, may have caused an underestimation of pesticide exposure, as listed in the Federal Register of March 27, 2015. The US EPA, realizing the issues, has revised 40 CFR 180.435 based upon supporting data from petition PP 5E8431.  New proposed tolerance levels of Deltamethrin for oranges and citrus foods published in Federal Register of April, 2017 [2] are shown in Table 1. Gas Chromatography with electron capture detector (GC/ECD) is the technique recommended by the Chief Analytical Chemistry Branch to determine Deltamethrin residue levels.

Common Name Commodity Parts per million (ppm)
Deltamethrin Citrus dried pulp 3.0
Citrus oil 50
Orange 0.3

What do the changes mean?

This update has the potential to affect agricultural producers, food manufacturers, and pesticide manufacturers. Residues of Deltamethrin on food products destined for the US must not be found to exceed the new tolerance levels.  Complying with food safety regulations food producers should seek professional advice.

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Amornpun Dajsiripun
Global Competence Support Centre Food Specialist
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