The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday banned use of fluopyram in tea cultivation, two weeks after it increased the fungicide’s maximum allowable level of residue in agricultural goods.

The order to ban fluopyram in tea production will take effect in 60 days. This is the first time in the history of the FDA that it has annulled its own order regarding residue limits.

On March 15, the FDA released an amended version of the Standards for Agricultural Chemical Residue Limits in Foods (農藥殘留容許標準), which revised upward the legal amount of residue of 22 fungicides and pesticides in 128 fruits and vegetables.

The most widely criticized of these changes was the raise in the ceiling for fluopyram residue in tea products to 6 parts per million. The fungicide is still banned in several countries across the world, including Australia and Japan.

FDA Repeal Rumors

Lawmakers from the Kuomintang as well as the Democratic Progressive Party had slammed the FDA for lifting the limit, with some alleging that the move was made to placate foreign fungicide manufacturers.

In response, the FDA said Thursday that only four of the 128 items revised earlier this month were altered for import purposes. The remaining 124, it said, were amended due to demands from local farmers or manufacturers.

The level of chemical residue for imported agricultural goods must abide by R.O.C. law.

However, applicants may request the FDA to relax local regulations by providing scientific evidence and safety certificates showing how foreign countries regulate the chemical in question, Lin said, adding that this “flexible” policy was in accordance with international principles and also implemented in the U.S., Japan and the EU.

Regarding the second most challenged revision, in which the legal amount of dimethomorph residue was increased to 10 ppm for cabbage and other vegetables, the FDA said Thursday that the standard was set after consulting foreign regulations.

He said that the legal amount of dimethomorph residue for cabbage and other vegetables in the U.S., Australia and the EU is set between 15 ppm and 30 ppm.