EPA is proposing to establish a tolerance for residues of the fumigant methyl bromide in or on undelinted cottonseed at 150 parts per million (ppm). USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is supportive of EPA's proposal.

APHIS has required imported cottonseed to be fumigated as a condition of entry into the United States to prevent the introduction of foreign cotton pests into the nation as authorized under the Plant Protection Act. APHIS has determined through efficacy studies that methyl bromide does effectively mitigate potential pests of concern such as strains of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum, the cause of Fusarium wilt in cotton, that are not known to occur in parts of the United States. If introduced, these foreign strains could cause significant losses to US cotton crops.

As a feed commodity, imported cottonseed that has been fumigated with methyl bromide requires a tolerance. Under current food/feed safety laws, without a tolerance or exemption, food or feed containing pesticide residues is considered to be unsafe and therefore “adulterated” and may not be distributed in interstate commerce.

In the absence of controlled fumigation trial data for cottonseed, EPA determined that the data that would be most representative of potential residues in/on cottonseed are from methyl bromide trials with tree nuts because commodities with higher fat content, such as nuts and oils, tend to have higher residues. EPA is proposing a tolerance level of 150 ppm, which is based on the highest residue found in tree nuts 24 hours after fumigation.