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Use of Antibiotics on Citrus Crops from July 2021

In May 2017 the EPA issued a time-limited emergency exemption to allow the use of streptomycin and oxytetracycline in Florida citrus crops to battle citrus greening. As of 2021 the allowance of use of these antibiotics on citrus has been expanded to include Californian crops as well. This change was spurred by a major reduction in production of oranges and other fresh fruit due to greening.


Use of Oxytetracyline


While the emergency use of oxytetracycline was permitted for citrus group 10-10 at a tolerance of 0.40 ppm, that tolerance expired as of 12/31/2019, and the tolerance has been reinstated at 0.01 ppm for citrus group 10-10. Additional tolerances are set for several other crop groups at previous levels as well.


Use of Streptomycin


The use of streptomycin for the same group was amended in January of 2021 and is currently approved for emergency use through 01/12/2028 at the tolerance of 2 ppm.

While the use of streptomycin is currently permitted per the emergency regulations, it is important to note that a similar legal challenge was filed in March by a coalition of groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, the Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, the Migrant Clinicians Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the United States Public Interest Research group. The FDA and CDC have also cited concerns regarding the use of what is considered a highly important drug in human medicine and the fight against tuberculosis on crops.


Use of Aldicarb


Additionally, as of January of 2021, the EPA has recently also allowed for use of the previously restricted pesticide aldicarb for use on oranges and grapefruit in Florida through 04/30/2021 for up to 100,000 acres of crops during each applications season (11/15 – 04/30). However, after a challenge of this approval by the Farmworker Association of Florida, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Environmental Working Group, the  D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA’s approval of aldicarb in June of 2021; the EPA is reviewing the decision to best determine next steps.


Table 1 Allowances for Crop Group Citrus 10-10
Product Tolerance Allowance Expiration
Oxytetracycline 0.1ppm N/A
Streptomycin 2ppm 01/12/2028
Aldicarb Not Permitted Pending Appeal


For testing, consultation, or questions about the use of pesticides and antibiotics on these or any other crop groups don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts!



Kaitlyn Gerhart

Tobias Wiezorek

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