Australia Revises and Adds New MRLs for Chemicals Used in Agricultural Products

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October 24, 2018 - Chanyanis Utiskul

On 17 October 2018 the Australian Government issued in the Federal Register of Legislation the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2018 (No. 10), revising the requirements for and establishing new maximum residues limits (MRLs) for agricultural and veterinary chemicals in agricultural products. This regulation amends the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) 2012 to set new and varied maximum residue limits and make other changes to the tables with respect to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances. These revisions take effect on 17 October 2018.
 
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Pesticides and veterinary residues in food products sold in Australia are regulated by the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority). Australia and New Zealand have jointly developed the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (The Code), which establishes food regulations in both countries, with certain exceptions. Through Schedule 20, the APVMA sets out the highest amount of an agricultural or veterinary chemical residue that is legally allowed in a food product sold in Australia (i.e., an MRL), regardless of whether it is produced domestically or imported.
 
For Australia, MRLs approved by the APVMA are associated with another national regulation: the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) 2012 (APVMA MRL Standard). This regulation provides changes to MRLs for agricultural and veterinary chemicals in agricultural products, particularly produce entering the food chain (Schedule 20). Both the APVMA MRL Standard and Schedule 20 of the Code are referenced and adopted by various states and territories in Australia. 
 
The purpose of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard) Amendment Instrument 2018 (No.10) is to amend the Tables in the Schedule of the APVMA MRL Standard 2012 to set new and varied MRLs and make other changes to the tables with respect to certain residue definitions, commodities and substances. APVMA has proposed amending the MRL standard on a monthly basis to incorporate new and varied MRLs. 
 
Among other changes, the following substances are being added with associated MRLs:
  • Fenhexamid;
  • Fipronil;
  • Indoxacarb hexythiazox;
  • Halosulfuron-methyl;
  • Sulfoxaflor; and
  • Tebuconazole.
The amendment also makes changes by replacing some of the food groups used by the following substances: fluesulfone, imazapyr,  linuron, paclobutrazol and spiroxamine.  
Other revisions include changes to the table of the APVMA MRL Standards including the residue definition for certain compounds and MRLs for pesticides in animal feed commodities.

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Manufacturers and importers of food products should consult the revision and ensure that their products do not exceed the relevant MRLs. No food products for the Australian market may exceed the MRLs as listed in the APVMA Standard and Schedule 20 of the Food Standards Code.

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