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Is Australia being flooded with illegally imported pesticides?

29 September 2011

Concerns have recently been raised by CropLife Australia that Australia could be the target of illegally imported pesticides and that traditional import protection arrangements in Australia may be ineffective against this threat.

While the APVMA shares this concern about illegal imports, investigations to date have not revealed a large scale problem.

Protecting our borders from illegal pesticide imports is the responsibility of a number of Government authorities. There are two key areas of responsibility. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service manages the security and integrity of the border while the APVMA is responsible for controlling the supply of pesticides once within Australia.

The APVMA has a Memorandum of Understanding with Customs and works very closely with it in monitoring pesticide imports. This year, in response to specific Australian (and broader international) concerns about illegal pesticide imports, this collaboration has been strengthened. Particular focus, for example, has been given to monitoring glyphosate imports.

Should illegal imports be detected, the APVMA has the power to recall, prevent supply, seize and dispose of any illegal pesticides. Indeed, the APVMA has successfully exercised these powers on a number of occasions in recent years in response to specific market intelligence.

Over the last few months the APVMA has actively pursued claims of wide scale illegal glyphosate imports into Australia. To date, these claims have not been able to be substantiated. Nonetheless, the APVMA remains vigilant and would encourage anyone with information about importation of illegal pesticides to contact the APVMA via the compliance hotline (during business hours).

The APVMA acknowledges the potential risk of illegal imports of farm chemicals into Australia and will continue to work with responsible Government agencies and other stakeholders to monitor the issue.

We welcome a proposal by CropLife, for example,  for a roundtable between regulators, government agencies and relevant stakeholders to share information and to consider how government and industry can more effectively work together to address the potential risk of illegal importations.

This activity is consistent with international initiatives the APVMA has undertaken to address the issue. The APVMA is a participant on international working groups established to address the issue and, more specifically, senior APVMA officials recently travelled to China to meet with the Chinese regulatory agency (ICAMA) for discussions on closer cooperation and collaboration between the countries.

Contact:

Compliance - Non-compliant Products and Active Constituents

Phone: 1300 700 315

Fax: +61 2 6210 4813

Email: compliance@apvma.gov.au

Media Inquiries

Phone: +61 2 6210 4812
Mobile: +61 467 726 486
Email: media@apvma.gov.au

Last updated on 29 September, 2011
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