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USDA approves labs to test peanuts headed to Europe

In addition to the USDA’s safety measures, the EU has placed further aflatoxin requirements on U.S. peanut imports.

Farm Press Staff

February 23, 2022

2 Min Read
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Brad Haire

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced Feb. 8 the addition of testing peanuts that are destined for the European Union to the Laboratory Approval Program for Analysis of Aflatoxins, or LAP-Aflatoxin, at the request of the American Peanut Council.

The addition will ensure peanuts destined for the EU meet testing requirements of Commission Regulation No. 401/2006. Laboratories must be approved under the LAP-Aflatoxin to provide aflatoxin testing for peanuts destined for the EU, effective January 24, 2022.

Through the LAP-Aflatoxin, AMS’ Laboratory Approval Service approves, or accredits, laboratories to perform testing services in support of domestic and international trade. At the request of industry, other Federal agencies, or foreign governments, LAS administers laboratory approval programs to verify that the analysis of food and agricultural products meet country or customer-specified requirements and ensures that the testing of products to be marketed is conducted by qualified and approved laboratories.

LAP requirements include good laboratory, quality assurance and control practices, applicable domestic and international standards (such as ISO/IEC 17025), established methods and accepted equipment, and audits.  Laboratories voluntarily participate and pay program fees.

Related:Peanut industry launches initiative to tell sustainability story

Eleven laboratories were approved to provide aflatoxin testing for peanuts to the EU. The LAP-Aflatoxin Official Listing of USDA and USDA-Approved Laboratories has been updated to reflect the approved laboratories.

According to a statement from the United States Peanut Federation last year, USDA grades U.S. peanuts for quality and safety including testing protocols for aflatoxin. In addition to the USDA’s safety measures, the EU has placed further excessive aflatoxin requirements on U.S. peanut imports.

These additional requirements have become non-tariff trade barriers for the U.S. peanut industry. In 2020, U.S. growers exported 668,000 metric tons of peanuts. The EU’s stringent tests have cost U.S. growers $170 million in recent years, and USPF reports that the losses in the first quarter of 2021 total an additional $130 million in anticipated lost sales, the statement says.

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