Use of Combined Uncertainty of Pesticide Residue Results for Testing Compliance with Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs)
The uncertainty of pesticide residue levels in crops due to sampling, estimated for 106 individual crops and 24 crop groups from residue data obtained from supervised trials, was adjusted with a factor of 1.3 to accommodate the larger variability of residues under normal field conditions. Further adjustment may be necessary in the case of mixed lots. The combined uncertainty of residue data including the contribution of sampling is used for calculation of an action limit, which should not be exceeded when compliance with maximum residue limits is certified as part of premarketing self-control programs. On the contrary, for testing compliance of marketed commodities the residues measured in composite samples should be greater than or equal to the decision limit calculated only from the combined uncertainty of the laboratory phase of the residue determination. The options of minimizing the combined uncertainty of measured residues are discussed. The principles described are also applicable to other chemical contaminants.
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