The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has suspended the registration and labels of specific chemical products containing dimethoate, following reports that the maximum permitted level of pesticide residue for dimethoate had been exceeded in avocados and mangoes.
APVMA Acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr Melissa McEwen, said the suspension of specific dimethoate products used as a post-harvest dip for fruit with inedible peel was necessary to protect human health.
“The reports received by the APVMA indicated the maximum residue limit for omethoate, the main degradation product of dimethoate, had been exceeded in avocados and mangoes,” Dr McEwen said.
“Avocados and mangoes treated with dimethoate are still safe to eat – but the residues were above the acceptable level when used in accordance with the approved label instructions as a post-harvest dip.
“The Notice of suspension, published today in the APVMA Gazette, includes instructions for use in a deemed permit that is valid for one year. These instructions allow the continued use of dimethoate but prohibit its use specifically as a post-harvest dip on tropical and sub-tropical fruit.
“Holders of the affected 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.
“We remain satisfied that all other approved uses of dimethoate are safe and do not pose a risk to human health.
“The APVMA acknowledges the impact the suspension may have on both producers and interstate trade, but our highest priority must be the protection of human health. Alternative quarantine or pre-shipment treatments are available for most tropical fruits, such as cold treatment, methyl bromide fumigation and meeting a ‘hard green’ requirement.
“When the APVMA is provided with evidence that suggests use of a registered agvet chemical may pose a risk to people, animals or the environment, we will take action and use the full range of regulatory options available to address the issues identified.”
More information about the suspension, including a list of the products affected, is available in the APVMA Gazette.
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