Even when the EPA negotiates a partial or total pesticide
ban, it can be years before foods containing the chemical
clear store shelves.
Written into the 1996 Food Quality and Protection Act
(FQPA) is a "channels of trade" provision, which assures
that, in the event of a ban, producers are not left holding
the bag. The provision permits foods containing a canceled
pesticide to stay on the market, so long as the chemical
was appropriately applied prior to the ban. The clause is
particularly relevant for certain frozen, dried and canned
foods, which can take up to four years to reach your dinner
plate. FDA Risk Assessment Chief Michael Bolger says the
provision was intended to prevent a "major disruption of
the food supply" and will proceed save "evidence of an
acute imminent public health hazard."
"The best way to clear out what is in the channels of trade
is for it to be used up," adds EPA's Jack Housenger,
insisting that the FQPA provision is "necessary for the
orderly transition to safer alternatives."