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CHOICE calls on government not to drop testing of food pesticides

Potential dangers could go undetected

11 April 2014

CHOICE says the federal government must not axe a scheme designed to test whether the pesticides used in food production are safe for consumers.

"Australians should not be exposed to potentially dangerous pesticides which have not been tested to the latest regulatory and scientific standards," says CHOICE campaigns manager Angela Cartwright.

The scheme requires the systematic review and re-registration of agricultural chemicals and pesticides to ensure they are safe. However, the federal government is proposing to abandon the re-registration scheme - and the assessment of these pesticides – as part of its anti-red tape measures.

"These reforms were introduced to deal with the dozens of chemicals that have never been assessed according to contemporary standards in Australia, despite many of them being removed for use in the EU, US and Canada," says Cartwright.

"Consumers should have confidence that pesticides used in food production don't pose risks to their health or the environment.

"The re-registration scheme isn't about stopping farmers using safe pesticides. It's about ensuring these pesticides are safe in the first place."

CHOICE launched a petition today calling on Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to retain the pesticides scheme.

Cartwright says: "CHOICE recognises the important role pesticides play in our food supply, but we think it is critical that these products are properly tested to ensure they don't pose risks to consumers, farmers or the environment."

"If safe chemicals and pesticides are in use in Australia then there is nothing to fear from the re-registration scheme."

CHOICE made a submission to the Department on Agriculture in March calling for the retention of the agricultural chemicals re-registration scheme after it was identified by the federal government as red tape to be removed.1

1. A bill has since been introduced into parliament that would abolish the scheme and referred to a Senate Committee Inquiry.

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