I have always found it very frustrating that no one seems to know much about pesticide residue regulations (both as a buyer and a seller). Japanese producers have very little access to information for regulations outside Japan, and importers have little access within Japan.
I believe in honest, transparent business practices, so let's try to make things a little clearer. This post is a work in progress and I invite you to share your own expertise in the comments whether or not it relates to Japan or tea.
Positive List System
Japan follows a positive list approach like the EU and USA. Each country has their own list, and if not on the list, each country has their own default value. USA, Australia and Singapore have a zero tolerance for residue if not on their list. EU and Japan have a tolerance level of 0.01 mg/kg. New Zealand has a default value of 0.1 mg/kg. (0.01 mg/kg is a ppm, or parts per million).
Comparison: Japan vs USA
USA's positive list for tea includes 30 pesticides. Japan's includes 233 pesticides.
For the 30 on the USA list, some are higher some are lower for Japan.
|Agricultural Chemical||MRLs(ppm)||Note (for japan)||USA||Difference USA - Japan|
|DICOFOL||3||limited to unfermented tea||50||47|
|DICOFOL||3||except unfermented tea||50||47|
- "Proposed Regulatory Framework for Pesticide Residues in Food in Hong Kong", Centre for Food Safety Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
- "Positive List System for Agricultural Chemical Residues in Foods", The Japan Food Chemical Research Foundation.
- The Japan Food Chemical Research Foundation. A table of 233 pesticide residue levels for tea in Japan.
- "Introduction of the Positive List System for Agricultural Chemical Residues in Foods", Department of Food Safety, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare June 2006.
- Global MRL Database. (Minimum Residue Levels). USDA info forwards to this service. Free for looking up USA residue levels with an account. You need to pay to access other countries. https://www.globalmrl.com