Safety evaluation and regulatory control of pesticide residues in Taiwan


Because agricultural production in Taiwan depends heavily on the use of pesticides, much attention has been focused on pesticide contamination of food and on the effects of pesticide residues on human health. The Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute (TACTRI) conducts tests to evaluate the safe usage of pesticides in Taiwan. In accordance with the Pesticide Control Act, minimum harvest intervals and tolerance levels for pesticides used on different crop groups are established before pesticides are approved for use in the field. The "tolerance" level of pesticides for different crop groups is determined on the basis of: i) the acceptable daily intake value of the pesticide; ii) the average daily consumption of each crop group by the Taiwanese people; and iii) the level of pesticide residues on different crops, estimated from supervised trials. Tolerance levels must be established before registrations can be approved. Pesticide residues on vegetables and fruits are under heavy public scrutiny. Fifteen workstations for pesticide residue control have been set up by the TACTRI in different localities in Taiwan, and multi-residue methods are used for the analysis of these products. Pesticide residues commonly found on vegetables have now been identified. Educational programs for farmers have been devised, based on the analytical results obtained from these workstations. Risk assessments of dietary intakes of pesticides are carried out on a continuing basis. Results have shown that the dietary intake of pesticide residues by consumers is within safe limits.

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