Australian national residue survey – closing the loop on pesticide residue risk management for Australian grain
AbstractAustralia exports a major proportion of its agricultural production and is highly dependent on maintaining and developing access to, and competitiveness in, export markets. To preserve Australia’s status as a provider of high quality grain, the majority of Australian primary producers rely on pesticides to protect their crops from pests and diseases, particularly in post-harvest situations. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) supports Australian agriculture by registering and allowing the supply of safe and effective animal health and crop protection products. A residue risk management continuum is established when the effectiveness of chemical registration and control of chemical use regulations is assessed through residue monitoring programs. Programs assess good agricultural practice and provide traceback capacity to investigate areas of concern. Risk communication provides opportunities for continuous improvement. In the early 1960s, the Australian Government established a non-regulatory body, the national residue survey (NRS). In 2008-2009, random monitoring programs were conducted for over 50 commodities (21 grains, five horticultural commodities, 11 fish species, 12 animal species, honey and egg with over 20,000 samples collected for analytical testing. The NRS grain residue monitoring program is presented as a case study of the residue risk management continuum demonstrating to overseas markets the high level of residue integrity of Australian grain. Over 4,000 grain samples are collected and analysed per annum. Most of the samples are collected in the bulk export program where samples are collected from every hatch of every ship loaded at the seventeen Australian grain export terminals. The chemical screens have expanded beyond the multi-residue screen (MRS) insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, to include phosphine, additional herbicides (not included in the MRS), heavy metals and mycotoxins. In its current form, the NRS grains program provides 15 years of residue testing data which demonstrates a very high degree of conformance with Australian MRLs and the import tolerances of overseas trading partners. In addition, trends in residue testing data demonstrate a decline in the frequency of residue detections and the levels of residue detected. To be confident that residue testing results meet the requisite standards, the reliability of the Australian analyses must be assured. The NRS laboratory performance evaluation system has been developed to provide that assurance, using a range of proficiency tests and other techniques in the selection of laboratories for NRS work. Residue testing results are reported against both Australian MRLs and the international MRLs which apply in the relevant export market. NRS maintains databases of overseas MRLs and compares its residue testing results of exported commodities against those standards. Grain marketers receive certificates of analysis, in the form of NRS residue testing results, for each shipment prior to arrival at the overseas market.
Keywords: Grain, Pesticide, residue, monitoring program, residue risk management
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