The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has published a list of crop groups and their individual members and an associated guidance document on the use of crop grouping in regulatory risk assessments titled representative crops and extrapolation principles for risk assessment and data waivers.
What is crop grouping?
For the purpose of scientific assessment and regulation, crops are usually grouped through similarities in their botanical classification, morphology, growth habit, the portion of the commodity harvested and/or consumed, and cultural practices. This is a common practice among international regulators and is used to streamline the establishment of data guidelines and regulatory risk assessment.
This scientifically based mechanism recognises that data need not always be necessary for all situations and that data and assessments can be equally applied to similar situations.
It is particularly important for minor crops because the data generated to register a chemical for a major crop use can be extrapolated to include uses on other minor crops in the same group – without the need for data for each crop in the group.
Crop grouping schemes, once established, enable formal recognition of data generated in a subset of crops to be extrapolated to other related crops of the same crop group with little or no additional data (or assessment) required.
Crop grouping gives growers' better access to chemicals for minor crops without the need to get a permit as, in many cases, minor crops can be included on the label. In addition, the cost to industry is reduced by removing the need to generate data across multiple crops within the same crop group.
There are around 25 specific crop groups and each crop group is underpinned by a select number of ‘representative crops’. Crop group types include pome fruit, stone fruit, citrus, brassica vegetables, leafy vegetables, root and tuber vegetables, herbs and spices, oilseeds, pulses, and legume vegetables.
The tables of crop groups and their individual commodities are based upon both the current Codex classification, its ongoing revision, and crop groups published by other regulators such as United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).