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MRL Management

(Maximum Residue Limit)
Ned Halaby, Sales & Marketing Manager, Organic and Non-GMO Projectphone icon510.452.6822 Email
Berries and agricultural field

Food producers, manufacturers and distributors supplying global markets must comply with the maximum residue limits (MRL) of each country of import. Rely on SCS Global Services to guide your team at the beginning of the growing season and assist you through the maze of multi-country import MRL requirements. We help you determine the correct pre-harvest intervals necessary to meet the MRLs of most countries, and ensure that you comply with GLOBALG.A.P. pesticide risk assessment requirements.

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Program Details

SCS MRL Management and testing applies to any fresh produce item. High-value fresh fruit and vegetable exports are prime candidates, such as table grapes, apples, berries, peaches and other stone fruit.

Prepare a Plan to Export

As you plan for your next growing season, select SCS to:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of your pest management plan with our staff agronomists, chemists and entomologists.
  • Predict your residue levels for each product, using our extensive pesticide residue application database
  • Compare your predicted pesticide levels to each country's maximum residue levels (MRLs)
  • Determine which country of import MRLs present risks
  • Create an export plan that minimizes risk

Expert experience and knowledge of pesticides and usage patterns allow us to focus our tests on those classes of compounds most likely to result in residues that exceed the relevant MRLs. Targeted testing enables us to control costs and give you the information you need. At your request, SCS will work directly with your current pest control advisor (PCA) to keep your in-house team fully engaged and informed.

What are the important steps for preventing product from being stopped at the border?

Gaining a fundamental understanding of the foreign policies governing pesticide use parameters and high-risk pesticides is necessary to guarantee distribution of your product overseas without hassle. Armed with this knowledge, growers can avoid certain pesticides and/or understand how to apply them in a way that doesn't put product at risk of being detained. SCS provides this knowledge through MRL Management services.

What is the right pre-harvest interval (PHI) for products destined overseas?

Selecting the correct PHI depends on the pesticide being applied. SCS has (or can generate) the decline data that allows you to apply pesticides in a manner that will ensure that residual pesticide levels meet the MRLs of the countries in your export plan.

Can I just buy the PHIs for the pesticides I use?

No. SCS data is proprietary. PHIs are dependent on the crop, the environment, and the geographic area. We create a custom program for you - using your existing data, our historical data, and the specifics of your operation.

Do pesticide residue tolerances differ between countries?

Yes. For example, the MRL for the pesticide "Captan" used on strawberries is 20 ppm in the United States; 5 ppm in Canada; 3 ppm in the United Kingdom, and 0.01 ppm in Taiwan. Because the tolerance range is so broad for some commonly used pesticides, it is important to consider a Pesticide Use Plan in coordination with your expected countries of export. SCS can help prepare you for the next growing season.

Are pesticides commonly found in food for sale?

Yes. US government testing, under the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s Pesticide Detection Program (AMS PDP), indicates that approximately 50% of all produce contains pesticide residues.  The actual level is probably higher, since these tests do not necessarily detect the pesticides that were used. Simply following label use guidelines on the pesticides you use will result in products that meet U.S. tolerances, but does not guarantee that you will meet the MRLs of other countries to which you or your distributors export.

How much does MRL Management cost?

Cost depends upon the extent of your operation and the number of commodities. If you are following modified PHIs, you can eventually cut back on testing and focus mainly on high risk pesticide residue management. This practice may also allow you to cut back on overall pesticide use.

How much would it cost if my shipment exceeded an MRL overseas?

Shippers whose products are detained at a border most likely will lose the full value of the product. In addition, you must pay the cost of shipment along with storage fees overseas while the complaint is processed, a fee to dispose of the product or re-export it, and potentially a violation fee. In short, thousands of dollars. In addition, the shipper is now "on detention," subject to additional monitoring and testing until multiple compliant shipments successfully cross the border.

For immediate service:

Ned Halaby, Sales & Marketing Manager, Organic and Non-GMO Project phone icon 510.452.6822 Email Ned