Consumers around the world enjoy a consistently high-quality product in California Almonds. The industry’s quality control programs have played a key role in helping almonds to become a “Nut of Choice.” Consumers expect safe food, and this section will provide tips and resources to help maintain and exceed those consumer expectations.
Pesticide usage in the U.S. is highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It often takes EPA as long as two years to complete a full review of a new compound, and 18 months to complete the review of new uses for compounds that are already registered.
In the U.S., almonds are only produced in California, which requires additional review and approval of pesticides by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. In some cases, CDPR requirements are stricter than EPA requirements.
The state of California also requires monthly reports from growers who use pesticides, detailing a list of pesticides applied, to which crops, the number of acres treated, the name of the compounds and the number of pounds applied. However, pesticides can only be applied by a licensed individual.
While pesticide regulations are closely monitored, there is an allowable level of pesticides in or on food, called tolerances in the United States and maximum residue limits (MRLs) globally. Only foods that meet these tolerances can be placed in the market. Globally, some customers are paying careful attention to the types of pesticides used in almond production, as well as the maximum residue limits.
The International Maximum Residue Limit Database provides a list of MRL tolerances by active ingredient and export market. The Almond Board of California provides data and background information to USDA and export markets to ensure pesticides used in almond production are approved for use. ABC also provides similar information to Codex Alimentarius, which sets international standards for food production.