Pesticide Residue Management
Pesticide residue free certification is a pesticide residue management and product safety program available to growers using conventional, integrated pest management, organic and biodynamic farming methods. Over the years, growers have found that they can fine-tune their agrochemical applications and save money in the process by monitoring residue levels.
Certification guarantees that your product falls below the maximum residue limits (MRLs) for every export market, and the specifications of your most exacting retail buyers.
Certification requires that there be no detected residues above the laboratory’s reliable limits of detection. For most pesticides, this level is 0.01 ppm, which is 10 to 1,000 times more stringent than required by law. This level meets the universal definition of “limit of detection.”
Strict Scientific Protocols
Certification is backed by strict scientific protocols of inspection, sampling, and testing. Targeted inspection protocols allow SCS to sample those areas of the field or growing environment most likely to have residues. Testing is based on actual pesticide use to provide the highest accuracy in results. SCS chemists oversee the laboratory testing process, including blind sampling, split sampling, and other quality assurance measures.
Certified Pesticide Residue Free
Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Fiber and Plant Starts
Demonstrate that your fresh or fresh-cut fruits, vegetables, grains, juices, fiber, and plant starts meet the most stringent pesticide residue standard in the marketplace today – Certified Pesticide Residue Free. Certification is proof that your products contain no pesticide residues within the limits of laboratory detection. This accomplishment far surpasses government requirements, satisfies retailers and other customers, and provides the reassurance that many consumers are seeking for themselves and their families.
SCS is the world’s leading certifier of Pesticide Residue Free foods, working with the most innovative farmers around the globe using conventional, integrated pest management and organic methods, as well as with leading food retailers.
- Program Details
Apply for Certification
Complete and submit the SCS Application, providing our audit staff with basic information about your operational practices.
Authorize a Proposal
We prepare a scope of work proposal, timeline, and quote. If the proposal meets your needs, you sign a work order.
Production Information Disclosure
Complete a production disclosure form describing pre-harvest and post-harvest pesticide use, any known historic containment issues, and supply SCS with historical records.
Samples are collected from the field or growing facility based on specialized protocols that reflect crop production cycles.
Samples are analyzed using multi-residue analysis plus specialized analyses as needed to encompass all pesticides used or likely to leave residues.
SCS evaluates test results in order to determine compliance with standards.
Products that successfully meet the Pesticide Residue Free standard (or as applicable, the Pesticide Free standard) are certified. All certified products are included on the SCS Certified product list.
Certificates are valid for one year. Annual retesting is required to maintain your certification.
Pesticide Residue Free certification allows you to:
- Differentiate your products from your competitors
- Meet market demand from consumers who want assurance that products meet this stringent standard
- Build strategic advantage by meeting all export market specs
- Guarantee that you meet food processor purity requirements
- Qualify for preferred purchasing by retailers
- Market pesticide residue free status during transition to organic
- Fine-tune your agrochemical applications and save money
- Take the first step toward achieving sustainability
- Meet or exceed residue testing requirements of GlobalG.A.P., Tesco’s Nature’s Choice, and SQF
How does Pesticide Residue Free (PRF) Certification work?
SCS asks for your pesticide disclosures in advance with the objective of reviewing which pesticides, if any, could be a problem in testing. Based on this information, we can then coach you through the process of meeting decline curves and adjusting your pre-harvest intervals. Samples of fruits and vegetables are then collected from the field or packing shed and lab tested for pesticide residues. To be certified, your produce must have no pesticide residues down to the limits of lab detection, a standard much tougher than the government’s and even tougher, in many cases, than organic residue limits. Products that become certified can be labeled with the SCS Kingfisher certification mark.
How does Pesticide Residue Free Certification compare to USDA Organic certification?
Organic and Pesticide Residue Free are complementary certifications. SCS certifies both of these claims. Pesticide Residue Free certification is an end-product quality claim that can apply to organic or non-organically produced products. Certified Organic refers to growing foods in a manner consistent with the requirements of the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) or other country-recognized programs. Organic certification under the NOP does not require that foods be tested to guarantee that they are pesticide residue free, or that they meet a pesticide residue free standard down to the limits of laboratory detection (generally 0.01 ppm). USDA standards allow Certified Organic foods to have residues that equal up to 5% of the US EPA tolerances for any registered pesticide.
How thorough is the Pesticide Residue Testing Program?
SCS’s Pesticide Residue Free standard of 0.01 ppm is up to one thousand times stricter than the levels of pesticide residue allowed under EPA tolerances (i.e., legal levels). Testing procedures typically cover residues on the skin as well as in the flesh the fruit or vegetable. Pesticide Residue Free certified products are tested not only for pesticides in use by the grower, but also for residues that may be present in the environment. The Pesticide Residue Free program has been continuously audited by the California Department of Food & Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Agriculture since 1987.
How does pesticide testing support producers?
Testing gives precise feedback to farmers, helping you fine-tune your practices to minimize chemical use. Certification also supports farmers in transition to organic, as well as offering an option for crops that cannot be grown organically. Certification requires growers to use biological controls, biopesticides, and other less toxic options when available and effective, giving them a public claim that sets their products aside as preferable to many health and environmentally conscious retailers and consumers.
What if I am exporting product overseas?
The SCS PRF Program guarantees your products will meet the Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) of all importing countries worldwide based on the internationally recognized standard of .01 ppm for no detected residues.
Ready to start the process? Complete an Application.