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COURT-ORDERED INTERPRETATION OF DELANEY CLAUSE DOESN'T REFLECT LATEST SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, MODERN TECHNOLOGY

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials of the Center for Produce Quality (CPQ) today called on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner to give public safety the highest priority in determining the fate of some 35 pesticides identified as possible carcinogens, and at the same time cautioned that such valuable tools should not be discarded unless there is scientifically sound evidence the chemicals represent genuine public health risk.
 CPQ President Bob Carey, responding to the release by EPA of a list of pesticides that may be banned for food uses as the result of a recent federal Circuit Court decision, said, "Pesticide residue policy should be based on the latest and most reliable scientific evidence, not the legal intricacies of an outdated law." By releasing the list, the EPA hopes to gather additional information to determine the impact the loss of the chemicals would have on farmers' ability to produce fresh fruits and vegetables in the United States.
 Carey quoted EPA Administrator Carol Browner who said, "EPA does not believe that the pesticides in the following lists pose an unreasonable risk to public health, based on available data. Thus, the current debate is not about health risks, but about the legal interpretation of the statute. However, the agency does believe that the impact of the Ninth Circuit Court's decision on pesticide users and food processors could be substantial. We will be working closely with members of Congress, appropriate federal agencies and other interested parties to assure that appropriate action is taken to address the implementation of the court decision."
 CPQ Secretary/Treasury George Dunlop said: "It is critically important that the public understand that this court action involves a narrow legal issue directing how the EPA must enforce the Delaney Clause of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The Delaney Clause says you can't have any carcinogens in the food supply that concentrate during processing -- zero. When the law was passed many years ago it was possible to find residues of these chemicals only at relatively high levels, because laboratory methods were not sufficiently sophisticated. Now, it is routine to find parts per million, billion, and even trillion. No credible scientists believes these levels represent a significant human risk, but under the Circuit Court's interpretation of the Delaney Clause, they are illegal anyway."
 The food industry is very much concerned, said Carey, that the public will misunderstand the situation, and assume the food supply is dangerously contaminated with cancer-causing pesticide residues. "That simply is not the case," he said, "and we can only hope this issue it put it in proper perspective for consumers."
 The federal court which directed the EPA to act also made it clear that in doing so it was not evaluating the safety of the pesticides, but rather only telling the EPA how to interpret the Delaney Clause. The EPA stressed repeatedly that there was no reason for public alarm.
 While the court battle over legal definitions continues, health authorities recommend Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables. The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Surgeon General and many other health experts encourage Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables to reduce their cancer risks.
 CPQ is a nonprofit organization representing the produce industry. Formed by the Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, CPQ is devoted to ensuring that American consumers have access to safe, wholesome and nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.
 -0- 2/2/93
 /CONTACT: John McClung of United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, 703-836-3410, or Mary Kearney of Produce Marketing Association, 302-738-7100/


CO: Center for Produce Quality; United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable
 Association; Produce Marketing Association ST: District of Columbia IN: FOD SU:


IH -- DC030 -- 2055 02/02/93 16:19 EST
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 2, 1993
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