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Costa Rica brings food suppliers back in line

Rigorous and powerful countries, like the United States, have had to accept the return or destruction of their agricultural products, in Costa Rica, because they exceeded the maximum residue limits (MRLs) of pesticides permitted for human consumption.

These actions have been taken by the Costa Rican State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), for agricultural products from countries such as Chile, Mexico, China, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua and the United States, as was reported by the SFE.

In response to such violations, which can be harmful to the consumers' health, representatives of the SFE and the Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4) of the Department of Agriculture of the United States signed a memorandum of understanding to work together in order to improve the farmers' access and use of reduced-risk pesticides.

The memorandum was signed last week on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, in San Jose, three months after the intensification of the surveillance on agricultural products that are coming into Costa Rican territory.

In Costa Rica, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) has been promoting organic farming in Perez Zeledon, in particular, there are more and more farmers who have committed to the production without agrochemicals, seeking certifications that will open the doors to new markets and better prices.

Since July, The SFE intensified the inspection of fresh produce at the country's points of entry in order to keep out foods that endanger the consumers' health.

"Inspections are performed according to the time established by law. Despite the flood of imports, there is no delay in this process because we have a modern and efficient laboratory, "said Magda González, director of SFE, in a press release of the Phytosanitary Service.

The report by the SFE indicates that, in recent months, they have detected apples, grapes, garlic, potatoes, passion fruits, watermelons, asparagus, pitahayas, tiquizques, cherries and pears which have pesticide MRL levels that exceed what is permitted for human consumption.

"SFE's Laboratory for Agochemical Residue Analysis, listed as one of the best in Latin America, has been making major adjustments in its infrastructure and equipment to improve its security and technical capacity, allowing it to detect the presence of a much wider range of agrochemicals in fresh vegetables," stated the SFE.

There is the need to identify the best way to manage these pests common to both countries and to participate in training etc., in order to establish international trade standards and to make demonstrate for the farmers.


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