Interest is growing among American specialty crop organizations and growers regarding the value and usefulness of the international Maximum Residue Limit database which has been upgraded as part of a partnership between CropLife America and USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

With the expanded database now online and operational (www.mrldatabase.com), officials at CropLife America and USDA are looking to improve both the content and user awareness of the service.

Maximum Residue Limits are defined as the maximum concentration of acceptable pesticide residue expressed in parts per million likely to occur on fruits and vegetables after the use of pesticides in accordance with an Integrated Cultural Management program and Good Environmental Practices.

Program upgrades include features that allow growers and exporters to download information directly from the Web site to a spreadsheet on their desktops and a system that automatically extends e-mail updates to the growers, based on changes to the database.

The database is free to the public and provides users with a searchable catalog of international maximum pesticide residue tolerances, organized by active ingredient, pesticide type, crop, commodity group, and/or importing country. The database allows users to search for nearly 350 fruit, vegetable and nut commodities and 272 pesticides.

Maximum Residue Limits data are included from 76 countries, the European Union, Codex Alimentarius Commission and Hong Kong.

“I find the new Maximum Residue Limits database quite useful in providing residue information to my members who have global businesses. The new features are very useful additions to an already valuable tool,” said Donna Garren, vice president of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.

Hank Giclas of Western Growers praised the diversity of crops represented in the database. “We represent an extremely diverse group of crops and the Maximum Residue Limits database is an exceptionally valuable tool. It allows us to provide our members with high-quality real-time information for making critical marketing and export decisions.”

The database is a management tool for evaluating pesticide residue requirements in leading export markets to avoid technical barriers to trade and helps insure access to foreign markets for U.S. grown specialty crops.