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Victory! EPA Drops Rule Change for Food Packaging

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2007) Due to opposition from Beyond Pesticides and citizen activists, EPA has withdrawn a rule that would have weakened the regulation of pesticide-treated food packaging. The rule sought to exempt from the definitions of “pesticide chemical” and “pesticide chemical residueďż˝? under section 201(q) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) food packaging (e.g., paper and paperboard, coatings, adhesives, and polymers) that is treated with a pesticide.

Many consumers took the opportunity to voice outrage at the notion that pesticides are allowed in food packaging products. Pesticide-treated food packaging is a potential threat to the public’s health. The average consumer is unaware of the potential dangers associated with pesticide food residues from packaging and will not be alerted if labeling is not required.

The proposed rule comes at a time when the agency has received increased applications for a wider variety of pesticide treated food packaging products. Due to this trend, Beyond Pesticides feels weaker regulation is inappropriate, citing existing gaps in the pesticide regulatory system, and has asked EPA and the Food and Drug Administration to require full reviews for pesticidal action of packaging, residues on food, and non-toxic strategies for food packaging.

The withdrawal of rule was announced February 2, 2007, in the Federal Register (72 FR 4963). While EPA has withdrawn the rule, it has declared it may repromulgate the rule provisions, but in doing so, EPA would address the adverse comments it has received.


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