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Pesticide Residue Analysis Course Teaches Participants Fit-for-purpose Laboratory Methods

The International Food Safety Training Laboratory (IFSTL) hosted eight participants as they learned methods of pesticide residue analysis. The training course, which began on September 22, 2014, lasted for eight days and brought participants all the way from Jamaica, Bangladesh and South Korea to JIFSAN’s Washington D.C. area location. The team of instructors included experts from the FDA, the UDSA and the U.S. EPA.

Dr. Janie Dubois, second from left, led the students through the Risk Analysis course. Participants included Khan, fifth from left, and Ramsay, sixth from left.

Dr. Alaa Kamel (EPA), Dr. Steven Lehotay (USDA) and Dr. Janie Dubois (JIFSAN), pose with participants of the pesticide residue analysis course. Participants included Khan, fifth from left, and Ramsay, sixth from left.

Many of the participants who signed up for the “Methods of Pesticide Residue Analysis and Laboratory and Introduction to Risk Analysis” course are government workers with focus in analysis, regulation, and management of food safety. Instructor and Laboratory Program Manager Dr. Janie Dubois said the training offers opportunities for people from other countries to come to the United States to understand the agriculture system here and network with subject-matter experts.

“There is an economic benefit for everybody,” Dubois said, due to the possibility for opening new trade markets for economic development when everybody is on the same page on the laboratory methods to verify the safety of food.

The course focused on the regulations in place in the United States with regards to pesticide residues in fresh produce and on modern laboratory methods. Teaching techniques included a blend of lecture and hands-on experience in the laboratory. In the laboratory, participants learned techniques in mass spectrometry, liquid chromatography and gas chromatography.

One student from Bangladesh, Md. Houmyoun Kabir Khan, said his work as Assistant Director at the Department of Fisheries can benefit from the topics learned in the class.

“Many fishery items are exported from [Bangladesh] to places including America and European countries,” Khan said. He added that the pesticide analysis methods learned in the course can be introduced to the laboratories at the Department of Fisheries in Bangladesh.

In addition to learning requirements for testing, calibrations, and sampling, participants practiced the QuEChERS extraction method, with no other than Dr. Steven Lehotay, author of the method. Instructors also went over concepts for action levels, the role of the FDA in control of domestic and imported foods, the FDA compliance program, and how to submit data according to FDA requirements.

Student Michael Ramsay, who is the Head of Pesticides Control Authority in Jamaica, said, “It’s a very intensive course…it’s expanded my knowledge a lot.”

Both participants from Jamaica who attended the course stayed a couple of extra days as part of their Cochran fellowship program, a program run by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of its Foreign Agricultural Service.

“We want to see what happens before the laboratory side, so we are going to speak with some of the FDA inspectors and hopefully see what they do with respect to sampling,” Ramsay said. The two witnessed a USDA import inspection arranged by the IFSTL at an import facility in the area.

If you are interested in attending a training course at JIFSAN or would like additional information, visit our website, or email us at ifstl@umd.edu. Registration occurs on our website at ifstl.jifsan.umd.edu.