The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has suspended the registration and labels of chemical products containing dimethoate used as a post-harvest dip for fruit with inedible peel.
This follows reports received by the APVMA, which indicated the maximum permitted level of pesticide residue (the Maximum Residue Limit; MRL) for omethoate, the main degradation product of dimethoate, had been exceeded in avocados and mangoes.
The information available to the APVMA showed the MRL exceedance was likely due to the use of dimethoate in accordance with the approved instructions for use as a post-harvest dip. The APVMA considers the level of residues detected are unlikely to pose a significant risk to human health but are above the acceptable level for an appropriate margin of safety.
The APVMA has published Notice of the suspension in the APVMA Gazette, 19 September 2023. The Gazette Notice includes instructions for use in a deemed permit that is valid for one year. These instructions allow the continued use of dimethoate but prohibit use of dimethoate as a post-harvest dip on tropical and sub-tropical fruit.
A brief statement of reasons for the decision to suspend the registration of specific dimethoate products and the approval of their labels is also provided in the Gazette Notice.
The APVMA has also varied Permit 87164, held by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd, to remove the use of dimethoate as a post-harvest flood spray for assorted tropical and sub-tropical fruits – inedible peel (crop group 006). The permitted use of dimethoate on citrus fruit with inedible peel remains acceptable.
The APVMA remains satisfied that all other approved uses of dimethoate are safe.
Holders of dimethoate product registrations may apply to the APVMA to vary their registration to remove the post-harvest dip use pattern, which will result in the product no longer being suspended.
The decision to suspend the registration and labels of specific dimethoate products follows public consultation, which closed 29 August 2023. No information was provided during consultation to change the APVMA’s assessment that the products may not meet the safety criteria and the labels may not meet the labelling criteria set out in the Agvet Code.