Update on regulatory action on crop protection chemicals

By Rosie Godwin

Many growers and resellers have been expressing concern over the potential outcomes of the Chlorpyrifos (e.g Strike-Out, Lorsban) and Neonicotinoids including Imidacloprid (e.g. Confidor Guard) and Clothianidin (e.g Shield) reviews and their possible impacts on the banana industry.

These chemical actives are currently under review by the regulator, the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority). Reviews can be initiated to ensure older compounds meet current safety standards or when new scientific information emerges relating to the safety or effectiveness of a pesticide. In terms of safety, this is regarding human health, the environment, animal or crop safety or trade.

Where are the reviews up to?

The APVMA chemical reviews have several phases and those listed above are currently at the scientific assessment phase. For Chlorpyrifos, the APVMA is intending to publish its findings and its proposed regulatory decision in late 2022. The proposed regulatory decision for Imidacloprid is expected in early to mid-2023.

After the APVMA releases its proposed decision, there will be a three-month consultation phase when the industry and the public will have
an opportunity to provide feedback through submissions.

The final regulatory decision will be published following the close of the public consultation period and consideration of all the submissions received.

If an adverse decision were to be reached, a 12-24 month phase out period could be expected. In the case of Chlorpyrifos, the registrant has indicated that supply would be maintained during the phase out period should this eventuate.

Expected outcomes

While we cannot pre-empt any outcomes of these chemical reviews, growers should re-evaluate their management strategies in the event the use of either of these chemicals were to be restricted.

Internationally, these products are under significant pressure. In Canada, the UK, the EU and the USA Chlorpyrifos is no longer authorised for use. For Imidacloprid and clothianidin, they have been deregistered for outdoor uses in EU while Canada has proposed restricting many foliar and soil uses. In the USA, an interim decision still allows access
with additional label restrictions and PPE.

While Australian farming practices and environments differ the chemical regulatory outcomes can, on occasion, mirror what happens internationally, so the APVMA could, potentially propose similar outcomes. Further complicating the situation is the uncertainty over ongoing registrant support for chemicals and/or products based on review compounds.

Canada – proposed cancellation of most agricultural uses.

What is being done to bridge potential gaps in crop protection.

The threats to these actives and the need to find solutions should regulatory actions result in potential pest management gaps was brought to the recent the Hort Innovation Strategic Investment Advisory Panel meeting to discuss possible future investment and collaboration to find alternatives. It is hoped these topics will be discussed in more detail at the road shows this year.

Several registrants have new actives currently under development and undergoing trials for registration in bananas for the management of pests currently being controlled by Chlorpyrifos or Imidacloprid.

A new 5-year Integrated Pest and Disease Management project is currently being contracted by Hort Innovation and aimed at improving crop protection for priority pests in the banana industry. This project is funded by grower levies with federal government co-investment.

More information

APVMA website for information on the chemical reviews

Hort Innovation AgChemical quarterly updates

  • https://www.horticulture.com.au/growers/ help-your-business-grow/research-reports- publications-fact-sheets-and-more/mt20007/

Or contact the R&D Manager, Dr Rosie Godwin