The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) issued a statement confirming it had suspended the use of the chemical on a number of food crops due to potential dietary risks.
New restrictions have been put into place that allow dimethoate to be used only on certain horticultural crops.
The announcement, which many within the horticulture industry already considered a forgone conclusion, follows the release of the 2011 Dimethoate Residues and Dietary Risk Assessment Report (August) which found that its use on many crops could exceed the recommended public health standard (the Acute Reference Dose).
Dr Raj Bhula, pesticides program manager said some of the estimated exposures for consumers are above the Acute Reference Dose, reducing, but not breaching, the margins of safety that are normally in place to protect consumers.
“These safety margins, built into the APVMA’s risk assessment, provide a protective buffer to ensure that consumers will not actually be exposed to high levels of residues in food,” Dr Bhula said.
“If our risk assessment shows that these standards could be exceeded, the APVMA must remove or modify the use of the chemical on the crop so
that consumption remains in line with the public health standard.”
The suspension will last for 12 months while the Authority completes further assessments on the chemical.
• use of dimethoate on certain horticultural crops
• use on all food producing plants in the home garden
• supply and possession of dimethoate products unless they carry the new instructions for use.
“Possession and use on some crops can continue provided the products carry the new instructions for use,” Dr Bhula said.
“Product registrants are requested to inform all parts of the supply chain that new instructions have been issued by the APVMA.
“All products in the supply chain and the marketplace must contain the new instructions prior to sale.”
There are currently 23 registered dimethoate products, with 19 companies having registered dimethoate products.
However the suspension is not a cancellation of dimethoate products altogether. Rather, it stops the use of dimethoate on certain crops while the APVMA makes its final decision on the review. Dimethoate is currently registered for use in a number of countries including the USA (on 35 food crops), Canada, European Union (EU) and New Zealand.
The use of dimethoate has been suspended for the following crops:
Acerola, Ambarella, Apples, Apricots (except uses at flowering only), Babacos, Bell fruit (water apple), Berry fruit (except preharvest uses on blackberries, blueberries, bilberries and raspberries), Blueberries post harvest, Boysenberries, Brazil cherry (grumichama), Brussels sprouts, Bulb vegetables (except bulb onion), Cabbage (except
specified drumhead varieties), Cape gooseberry, Capsicum post harvest, Carambola, Cashew apple, Cherries, Cole crops (other than broccoli, drumhead cabbages and cauliflower), Cucumber, Cucurbits (except melons, watermelons and zucchini), Dates, Egg plants, Figs, Fruiting vegetables, other (except capsicum, tomatoes for processing and sweet corn), Gourd – bitter, Grapes all uses after commencement of flowering, Grumichama (Brazil cherry), Guava (edible peel varieties), Hog plum, Home garden use on any food producing plant, Kiwifruit (Chinese gooseberry)(edible peel varieties), Kohlrabi, Kumquat, Leafy vegetables, Lettuce, Loganberries, Loofa – smooth, Loquats, Malay
apple, Miracle fruit, Mulberries, Nashi pear, Nectarines (except uses at flowering only), Olives, Peaches (except uses at flowering only), Pears, Pepinos, Persimmon (edible peel varieties), Plums (except uses at flowering only), Plumcot (except uses at flowering only), Pome fruit, Quince, Root and tuber vegetables (except beetroot, carrot, parsnips, potatoes and sweet potatoes, radish and turnip),
Rose apple, Silverbeet, Stalk and stem vegetables except asparagus, celery, globe artichoke and rhubarb), Stone fruit (except uses at flowering only), Strawberries, Tomatoes (except tomatoes for processing only), Tropical
and subtropical fruit (edible peel).