Pesticides have vastly improved life for the developed nations of the world. Some developing nations lose a tremendous amount of their limited food production between harvest and consumer. It has been estimated that almost one-half of India's food production is destroyed by pests after harvest. This is a tragic loss in a nation where starvation and malnutrition are man's constant companions. Modem chemicals and pest control methods could reduce this loss in a short time. Research has continued to provide new insecticides as fast as insects have developed resistance. Unfortunately many insects have been able to develop a cross resistance to some pesticides. In other words, instead of only being resistant to malathion, diazinon, and other organic phosphates, some insects have also exhibited resistance to carbamate materials. At present no one has the answer to this resistance problem, but many people are working on it and it is not inconceivable that a solution will be found. In spite of resistance, residue tolerances, and increasing governmental restrictions, pesticides are still necessary to maintain our standards of sanitation. As regulations increase, the cost of developing new pesticides increases and the number of new compounds reaching the commercial market decreases. This decrease has been quite apparent in the past few years. If the present trend continues, it is conceivable that one day the flow of new materials will be dangerously low. At that time new approaches to replace residuals and other pesticides will be vitally important.

The new chemicals, equipment, and techniques discussed will only be useful to the food industry if they are applied. Now is the time for all good sanitarians to come to the aid of their company and their country. Increasing costs, rising purity standards, and tightening regulations will tax the managerial and technical abilities of the food industry. Our sanitation programs must be constantly ahead of requirements. Food processors cannot complacently say, “we meet specifications,” because the “specifications” continually evolve toward purer food and more sanitary processing facilities.

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Author notes

1Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Milk, Food, and Environmental Sanitarians, Inc., St. Louis, Mo., August 18–22, 1968.

2Readers should check current U. S. Department of Agriculture registration before using any pesticides.