The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) runs the most extensive Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program in the nation and is hard at work ensuring that the fruit and vegetables we purchase and consume are free from illegal pesticide residues. In September, DPR detected residues of a pesticide not registered for use on grapes and fined the grower $10,000 for using a pesticide in violation of the label and for packing and attempting to sell the tainted produce.
Cases like this are rare in California but remind growers how important it is to apply pesticides correctly by following all pesticide label directions. Understanding and following label instructions is the focus of a new online course Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues developed by Pesticide Safety and Education Coordinator Lisa Blecker, Interactive Learning Developer Cheryl Reynolds and Content Development Supervisor Petr Kosina.
Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues is targeted to those who apply pesticides or make pesticide recommendations. It explains what pesticide residues are, how they are monitored, and highlights important residue-related information from several sections of pesticide labels. In addition, the course identifies the following as the most important factors leading to illegal residues:
Course participants are presented with several real-life scenarios. Participants search through actual pesticide labels to determine if the scenario illustrates proper use of pesticides or if the described situation could potentially lead to illegal residues.
The overall goal of this course is to have participants follow pesticide label instructions every time they apply a pesticide. Following the label will eliminate incidences of illegal pesticide use.
Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues has been approved for 2 hours of Pesticide Laws and Regulations continuing education units (CEUs) from DPR and costs $40. If you don't need CEUs, but are still interested in viewing the course content, check it out for free on YouTube. For more online courses, visit UC IPM’s online training page.