Dec 05 2015

New off label controls on key insecticides

When the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) reassessed the use of organophosphates and carbamates (OPCs) in 2013, they also reassessed the amount of each compound that is considered safe to consume through food consumption. This is known as the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). 

Where the ADI figure for a compound was reduced by the EPA, this required the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to reassess the label directions of the affected compounds to ensure the ADI would not be exceeded through normal consumption.

MPI determined that for five of the compounds, the newly set ADI figure would be exceeded based on current labelled use patterns and expected consumer consumption. As a result they deemed it necessary to revise product labels to ensure consumer safety.

In November 2015, MPI released their final reassessment decision for the five compounds. The reassessment has resulted in the use patterns being revised and some crops being removed from labels. In addition, it was determined that for four compounds (acephate, diazinon, fenamiphos and methamidophos), it was necessary to prohibit off label use to control dietary intake. Growers must only use these compounds strictly according to label directions and must observe all MPI and EPA controls. This includes following exact use pattern directions i.e. maximum rates, application frequencies, timing, withholding periods (WHPs) and target insects. The new use patterns are available on product labels approved after July 2015 and can be viewed on the MPI website.

In order to maintain the use of these compounds and ensure that risks are acceptable, MPI have imposed new maximum residue limits (MRLs) and WHPs for approved crops. These are available in the MPI document and the MRLs will be introduced in July 2016. 

It is very important that all growers that use these insecticides are aware of the new controls and comply with them. Growers must reference the MPI and EPA websites to ensure they are following the correct controls and registration conditions. 

Further details can be viewed in the MPI summary document.

 Revised use patterns are available on product labels approved after July 2015.   Current labels can be viewed on the ACVM website.

A summary of the EPA reassessment is available in the form of factsheets on the Worksafe website