Department of Pesticide Regulation

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February 28, 2002   ENF 2002-008
County Agricultural Commissioners  



The Department of Pesticide Regulation's (DPR's) Enforcement Branch is in the process of coordinating schedules for the 2002/03 Marketplace Surveillance Program. The following plan is based on the review of current DPR pesticide residue and use programs, and consultation with Enforcement Management of the DPR Medical Toxicology Branch's Health Assessment Section, county agricultural commissioners, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Laboratory Services supervisors. This program is designed to monitor compliance with pesticide laws and ensure that detected pesticide residues are within the established tolerance levels. The program is also designed to collect pesticide dietary exposure residue data, used when considering risk assessment priorities. California grown, domestic, and foreign commodities are sampled in this program.

The following criteria was used to develop these recommendations:

  • Commodities with a history of violation, domestic and foreign.
  • Commodities with a significant percentage of detectable residues in previous years.
  • Coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program with the goal of avoiding duplication, and focusing on commodities which data is lacking.
  • Dietary significance of a commodity based on consumption frequencies, quantities consumed, and dietary patterns of infants, children, and ethnic groups.

The 2002/03 Marketplace Surveillance Program will focus on sixteen commodities: apricot, blueberry, bok choy, chinese broccoli, flowering chinese cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumber (non-pickling), grape (table), lemon, pepper (bell varieties), pepper (chili), plum (fresh only), spinach, strawberry, tomato, and tomatillo.

All samples are to be collected from farmer's markets, specialty ethnic markets, point-of-origin sites, or point-of-entry sites. Ethnic markets sell many minor crops. These commodities must be identified by principal and common names that are used in the trade. There may be times when the sample collector will need to determine the taxonomy of the commodity. The correct commodity vocabulary is needed to establish a tolerance.

Point-of-origin sites are where commodities are packed or stored prior to shipment. These can be at the field for commodities such as grapes and strawberries or at the packing shed for commodities such as melons. Point-of-entry sites are locations where produce enters California. These points include airports, seaports, and border stations.

Samples must be delivered to the Anaheim or Sacramento CDFA laboratory within 24 hours of collection. For laboratory efficiency, 12 samples must be collected in one day, and samples will be analyzed only on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Laboratories require samples be submitted by 7:00 a.m., so they can be analyzed the same day.

All commodities will be run through a multi-residue screen (organophosphate, carbamate, and chlorinated hydrocarbons) to detect a total of more than 200 pesticides, metabolites, and breakdown products. All commodities will be analyzed for illegal residues. State and county staff will coordinate follow up on illegal residues. Detection of multiple pesticide residues on a given commodity will also provide useful information for dietary assessments.

Counties interested in participating in the 2002/03 Marketplace Surveillance Program must submit a proposal to DPR by March 15, 2002. If you are not able to meet this deadline, please contact Ms. Terry Schmer as soon as possible. DPR would like to award the contracts to the counties by April 30, 2002, in order for the contracts to be in place on or by July 1, 2002. The proposal must include a list of commodities to sample, the total number of samples to be collected, and the cost per sample collection. Sample collection cost will include shipping cost if the sample must be shipped to the laboratory. DPR will calendar your collection days.

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Terry Schmer, Program Specialist, at (916) 445-4023.

Original Signature by:
Scott T. Paulsen, Chief
Pesticide Enforcement Branch
(916) 324-4100


cc:  Mr. Daniel J. Merkley, Agricultural Commissioner Liaison
      Ms. Terry Schmer

1001 I Street  ·   P.O. Box 4015  ·  Sacramento, California 95812-4015  ·
A Department of the California Environmental Protection Agency