Do you know the residue rules?

19 January 2017

Chemicals are used widely in Australian agriculture to boost the yield and quality of produce, to control weeds and pests, and to improve animal health. Consumers however are increasingly concerned with potential chemical residues in produce. Export markets too demand that the meat they import from Australia is free from unacceptable residues.

Livestock producers are therefore urged to be vigilant in their application so as to maintain market trust.

To eliminate unacceptable chemical residues, it is crucial producers abide by the Withholding Periods (WHP) and Export Slaughter Intervals (ESI) set out by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), and SAFEMEAT.

A WHP is the minimum length of time between the last application of an agricultural chemical to a crop, and the use of that produce. Use includes harvest, sale, grazing, slaughter, cut for stock food, feed to animals, and use for recreation.

An ESI is the period that must lapse between administering veterinary chemicals to livestock and their slaughter for export purposes. International red meat markets demand produce that is free from chemical residue.

These two tools help underpin Australia’s excellent agriculture and food safety reputation amongst both domestic and international customers.

Producers should always read and follow label instructions when applying agricultural chemicals to pastures and crops. Careful and meticulous record-keeping is necessary and will help observe and monitor WHPs and ESIs. It is an LPA requirement that, when selling livestock, producers advise buyers on the LPA NVD if any livestock falls within a WHP or ESI.

For more information on ESIs and WHPs visit APVMA. Product labels can be viewed on the PubCRIS database. ESIs covering veterinary medicines for cattle and sheep are available at APVMA.

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