Dimethoate restrictions by the end of September
Greater restrictions on the use of dimethoate insecticides are imminent.
Grower groups have a fortnight to offer new data if they are to convince the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Association (APVMA) to reconsider its decision to restrict use of dimethoate insecticides.
However, no new information is known to exist for uses that do not breach proposed new residue limits and new rules are expected to be in place by the end of September.
The APVMA has found potential consumption of residues on food sprayed with dimethoate at existing permissible levels would be above the health standard.
This reduces the margin of safety normally in place to protect consumers from short-term dietary risks.
Used to control a wide range of insect pests on fruit, vegetables, pastures and ornamental crops, dimethoate is a systemic insecticide.
Also sold as Rogor and Saboteur, it has been an important tool for many farmers both before and after harvest, and is particularly useful for controlling Queensland fruit fly (Qfly).
For fruit and fruit-vegetables (for example capsicums, tomatoes) grown in areas where Qfly is present, not using dimethoate can mean not getting a crop worth picking.
Fruit sent to Qfly-free markets can currently be treated as quarantine security against the pest but this will be lost for many products under the new regulations.
Current treatments also include pre-harvest sprays, postharvest dipping and postharvest flood spraying.
Home gardeners will have to forego previously authorised use on fruit trees, including citrus, pome and stonefruit, as well as potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables.
Concerns about public health and worker safety lead APVMA to conduct its review.
In January this year a new health standard was adopted.
This reduced the allowable dietary exposure to dimethoate, to ensure consumers were fully protected from any possible harmful effects.
In late August, the APVMA announced some uses of dimethoate are to be suspended while it finalises the review.
Visit www.apvma.gov.au for the full report, frequently asked questions, list of supported/suspended uses, alternatives and permits.
A more complete table showing expected changes is at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/agriculture-today/september-2011/dimethoate-table
- Changes affecting NSW growers are expected to include:
- Application to summerfruit, including cherries (pre or post harvest)
- No use on tomatoes (pre or postharvest)
- No use on cucumbers, eggplant (pre or postharvest)
- No pre harvest use on leafy vegetables or celery
- No postharvest use on capsicums or zucchini
- Increase to 21-day retreatment interval for blueberries
- No use on food crops in the home garden
Home gardeners prepare
Residents are urged to prepare now as spring comes on to control Qfly, also one of the biggest pests for home gardeners; fruit flies are already active now in some districts.
With dimethoate about to be restricted on the list of home garden controls, find other options at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/recent-news/agriculture-news-releases/prepare-now-for-fruit-fly-control in addition to the sources above.