Berry Crops: Global Harmonization of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)
Oregon berry crops, especially, blueberries, are shipped all over the world. A challenge growers and shippers face is ensuring that their fruit will meet the pesticide residue standards of the importing country. It is not uncommon for an MRL in an importing country to be lower than the MRL for the same crop in the USA. If residues are higher, a violation will occur and the fruit is rejected at great loss of time and money to the grower or shipper. Thus, it is a challenge for Oregon berry growers to manage pests in their fields and, at the same time, ensure the pesticide level (MRL) of their crop will not be in violation of the importing country’s regulations. To that end, I help growers, shippers and crop consultants be aware of MRL issues around the world and provide them with easy-reference MRL charts (blueberry, caneberry, strawberry) that they can use to develop a pest management strategy that allows them to ship to foreign markets with confidence.
I am currently working on the correlation between the PHI (postharvest interval) of a pesticide application with the pesticide residue level found in the fruit (as determined by an analytical laboratory), which should provide growers with some guidance on how many days to allow between a pesticide application and harvest, giving them the confidence they won’t have an MRL violation when they export their fruit.