The Popcorn Handbook

The Popcorn Handbook

Published by the Popcorn Board

2023 Edition



The Popcorn Board developed this Agri-Chemical Handbook to help everyone in the popcorn industry remain informed about the status of pesticide products that are registered for use on popcorn or in popcorn storage facilities. (The term “pesticide” includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators.)

The proper use of pesticides is of critical importance to the popcorn industry. The Popcorn Board is committed to ensuring that popcorn remains safe and healthful and retains the full confidence of consumers. To that end, this Handbook not only lists agri-chemicals registered for use on popcorn or in storage facilities, but also indicates where special use restrictions apply, or if a chemical is under special review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This Handbook is not a substitute for the labeling of a pesticide. The labeling should be consulted for particular limitations on use, instructions on how the product should be applied, warnings and precautions, and the like.

Likewise, the fact that a pesticide appears in this Handbook does not necessarily mean that the pesticide is approved for use on popcorn in all situations or all areas of the US. Other limitations may appear on the label (e.g., “for use only in Illinois and Indiana”) or be imposed by state regulations. Users of this Handbook also should be aware that some fumigants and insecticides are for use only on empty storage areas or as preplant soil fumigants and that most fungicides are registered for use as a seed treatment only. Growers should also check labels for any rotational restrictions limiting how soon popcorn can be planted following the application of a herbicide.

Also included is a model grower’s permanent record of chemical pesticide application. (See Appendix VI, “Grower’s Permanent Record of Insecticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and Growth Regulators”.) We strongly recommend that every grower maintain an accurate record of all pesticides used.

For some pesticides, the U.S. EPA and most foreign governments have established Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) specifying limits on the residues of these pesticides permitted in products places on the market. Exporters should be aware that foreign MRLs are not always the same as U.S. EPA MRLs. Codex limits, developed by the World Health Organization, are used by many importing countries, but there are important exceptions, including several major foreign markets. Exporting firms should carefully review the BCGlobal Pesticide MRL Database,, and check with their overseas marketers to be certain they are aware of the standards applicable in these markets. See Appendix II.

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How to use this handbook

This Handbook has been designed as a working document with indexes and cross-references. Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, soil fumigants, products for structural treatment, and miscellaneous products (growth regulators and nitrogen stabilizers) are listed separately. Special use restrictions, Signal Words, Modes of Action, as well as information pertaining to registrations and use received from product Registrants, or any special review at EPA is noted under “Regulatory Status” and “Comments” for each specific chemical.

Content in this Handbook is derived from one of more of the following sources: information provided by the Registrants of the listed products, information found on the product label, publicly available EPA information and online databases, other publicly available online resources, and trade publications. For additional information, see Disclaimer below.

Users of this Handbook should always read the specific product label before using any pesticide in the production of popcorn or in facilities used for storage of popcorn.

For labeling purposes, “corn” includes “popcorn”. If a product’s label says that the product is approved for use on “corn” or “corn grain”, that approval includes popcorn unless the label expressly excludes popcorn grain. “Field corn” or “sweet corn” on a label is specific to those varieties.

All pesticide labels and registration status are under continuous review by federal and state agencies. Therefore, all growers are cautioned to contact their pesticide suppliers for the most current information, including supplemental labeling. It is a violation of Federal law to use any pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.

Pesticides must be used only within the limits of the label

Unless otherwise noted, if the manual says that products containing an ingredient are “Restricted Use Pesticides”, the restriction on use is that the products may be used only under the supervision of a certified applicator. The “Restricted Use Pesticides” warning found on the label will indicate the type of toxicity associated with the product and the label will provide additional information as “Precautionary Statements” or “Environmental Hazards”. For a general orientation of the labeling requirements, see Appendix V.

Popcorn processors are urged to coordinate legal and safe chemical use with growers. It is recommended that processors require growers to keep a written record of chemicals used and submit that information prior to receipt of their popcorn. A model “Grower’s Permanent Record of Insecticides, Herbicides, Fungicides and Growth Regulators” is included in Appendix VI.

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Crop safety

The Handbook has been developed to help popcorn growers identify pesticides that may be used in growing popcorn. These products are registered by the manufacturers with the EPA as products that may be used safely.

However, using a product safely depends on following the manufacturer’s label instructions.

Plant damage may occur if label directions are not followed. Labels have specific instructions covering the use of the pesticide under a number of conditions including the following:

  • Maximum use rates
  • Soil pH limitations
  • Geographic limitations
  • Crop rotation guidelines following prior application of a soil insecticide or a herbicide
  • Weather effects (drought or heavy rainfall)
  • Compatibility with other products
  • Compaction conditions
  • Drainage conditions
  • Recropping intervals
  • Temperature

Labels may include information that directs the grower to seek additional information from the seed producer or the contracting company before using the pesticide. An example of this type of wording is found in the DuPont™ Accent® label, as follows:

Many seed companies have tested seed corn inbreds or yellow popcorn hybrids for sensitivity to ACCENT® and have reported excellent safety. Do not apply ACCENT® to any white popcorn inbred or white popcorn hybrid unless specifically approved by the seed company. This includes White Dynamite popcorn.

Processors are likely to receive calls from growers prompted by this or similar language.

Information on rotational restrictions, residue tolerances, mode of action, organic production, and product labels may be found in the Appendix.

Please read and follow label directions to reduce the risk of plant damage.

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The Handbook’s list of chemicals and registered products was designed to assist the user and is not an endorsement of any product. In some cases, particularly those where the active ingredient is no longer protected by the patent and a number of similar products are marketed by different registrants, the Handbook may not list every registered product that may be used on popcorn. Omission of any such product from the Handbook is not intended to suggest that it may not or should not be used on popcorn. Registered products may be used if the label includes instructions for use on “corn” or “popcorn”.

The information in this Handbook was gathered by the Popcorn Board from one of more of the following sources: Registrants of the listed products, information found on the product label publicly available EPA information and online databases, other publicly available online resources, and trade publications. The Board believes the information to be accurate at the time it was published, but cannot and does not warrant or guarantee that all the information in the Handbook is accurate.

The Board strongly suggests, as an added precaution, that users check with local, state and county authorities to determine whether they have imposed restrictions on pesticide use that differ from those imposed by the EPA.

The Popcorn Board hereby disclaims any and all responsibility or liability, which may be asserted or claimed arising from, or claimed to have arisen from, reliance upon the information contained herein by any entity or person.




The Popcorn Agri-Chemical Handbook (complete version)*

*Contains introductory material, Appendix I, Appendix II, Appendix III, Appendix IV, Appendix V and Appendix VI.

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