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APVMA Meets With Pig and Poultry Industries on Dimetridazole

6 March 2007

Representatives from APVMA met with representatives from industries which use dimetridazole during March 2007. A meeting with the pig industry was held in Canberra on Tuesday 20 March and with the chicken meat and egg industry in Sydney on Monday 26th March. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss the proposed outcomes of the review of dimetridazole.

During the meetings, the APVMA advised industry that on human health grounds the APVMA could no longer support the use of dimetridazole in food-producing animals. The APVMA and the two industries engaged in a lively discussion on this position and the implementation of review recommendations, including a suitable phase-out period, in the event that a decision is taken by the APVMA Board to cancel all products that contain dimetridazole and their associated labels.

The review of this chemical was initiated in 2002 to address concerns that the chemical may have a harmful effect on human health and that the chemical is potentially carcinogenic. At the time of commencement of the review, major regulatory authorities overseas were de-registering the chemical from being used in food-producing animals.

In 2004 the APVMA released a draft report, which contained advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing’s Office of Chemical Safety indicating that the toxicological data were insufficient to retain existing health standards or to establish new health standards with respect to acceptable intakes of residues of dimetridazole.

Following a period of public consultation after the publication of the draft review report, the APVMA considered proposals from the pig industry for on-going use of dimetridazole in the eradication of swine dysentery in pigs and from the poultry industry for its ongoing use in breeder chickens and turkeys.

Under current APVMA and international risk assessment policy and practice, the APVMA cannot determine safe levels of dimetridazole in meat and eggs since there are now no health standards against which human exposure levels of the chemical can be measured. This finding is consistent with the findings of Australia’s key trading partners who also could not establish a safe level of dimetridazole.

APVMA Review of Dimetridazole

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