A Technical Information Bulletin
Northwest Horticultural Council
The properties of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) were discovered in the early 1990s by scientists at North Carolina State University (NC State) who were studying a method to counteract the ethylene response in plants. NC State now has a portfolio of U.S. patents on this technology. The first commercial use of l-MCP, under the trade name Ethylbloc®, was in 1999 in nurseries on ornamental crops and for maintaining the longevity of cut flowers. Rohm and Haas, a large specialty chemical company based in Philadelphia, after having licensed rights for “all fields of use” to the technology from NC State, formed AgroFresh Inc. in December 1999 in order to develop and market SmartFreshSM for fresh produce uses. AgroFresh has chosen to protect its property right by means of a service mark. A service mark, which may be a word or symbol, is intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.
On July 26, 2002, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of 1-methylcyclopropene for a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as the post harvest treatment of apples. The product works in apples by bonding with the fruit’s ethylene receptors to slow down the ripening process following fruit maturation. EPA exempted 1-MCP, registered under the name “SmartFresh”, from the requirement to establish a residue tolerance because the product leaves no detectible residues following application.
SmartFreshSM may be used on such items as apples, bananas, kiwifruit, persimmons, tomatoes, cantaloupes and avocadoes. It is not registered for use on fruits, such as cherries, with little or no interval between maturity and ripening.
According to Agrofresh, as of 2014, 1-MCP is registered and legal for use on apples in 38 countries; a list that encompasses and appears to be largely limited to the world’s top apple producing countries. Of these, only the EU countries, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand, along with Malaysia, have MRLs for 1-MCP, according to unpublished information provided by the USDA/FAS MRL database. It is also exempt from tolerance in Mexico. Please refer to the NHC Export Manual for current information on 1-MCP’s MRL status.
The use of 1-MCP must be shown on the shipping carton for sales within the United States . Packers and shippers must comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) labeling requirements for post-harvest chemicals. Post harvest chemicals used must be labeled with the full chemical name (in this case, 1-methylcyclopropene) on the bulk-shipping container or on the retail packages if they are not shipped in a labeled bulk-shipping container.
For export labeling, the NHC strongly suggests that only the technical information required by the destination country be included on the shipping carton. For example, India does not require information on the use or possible use of 1-MCP and providing such information may lead to regulatory problems at port of entry.
General information on labeling can be found in the Northwest Horticultural Council’s Export Manual and Wax and Chemical Post Harvest Labeling Manual at www.nwhort.org.
For additional information, contact the Northwest Horticultural Council at 509-453-3193.
Registrant: Greg Lyons, Agrofresh at 509-521-9594.