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Archive for the ‘Phytosanitary’ Category

http://grist.org/food/relax-california-isnt-about-to-dump-pesticides-on-organic-farms/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520Nov%252013&utm_campaign=daily

By Nathanael Johnson
13 Nov 2014 12:40 PM

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There’s a story going round right now that makes it sound like the California Department of Food and Agriculture is planning to spray pesticides on organic farms, forcing them to go conventional. What’s actually happening is a lot less exciting, but still worth knowing about.

First, the background: Yes, the state of California does pest control — and that’s a good thing. Insect control doesn’t work very well if it’s done in a patchwork. You knock out some here and some there, but the bugs between those patches thrive and come back stronger the next year. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a non-native organism that’s just been introduced. If you can get rid of those pioneers, you have far less need for pest control in the long run.

For about the last 20 years, California has used integrated pest management — which means it tries to handle problems without chemicals, if at all possible. Often this means using biological controls, releasing predators or parasites that will kill the pest.

For instance: Every day, an airplane flies over the Los Angeles basin, releasing a stream of sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies. Those flies go out and mate with the females, preventing them from reproducing. It works, and it has prevented farmers from turning to pesticides.

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And then there are times when the state decides that the best way to deal with a pest is with a chemical pesticide. And yes, if the state decides it really needs to, it can spray on someone’s farm, even an organic farm. That has actually occurred, said Steve Lyle, spokesperson for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, but it’s incredibly rare.

All this has been going on for years. But now the state has put out a new environmental impact report that details everything it does in pest control. The individual programs — like the Mediterranean fruit fly program — all have their own environmental approvals. All this new report does is put everything into one document and update it. “This doesn’t give us any new authority,” Lyle said.

Still, this is an opportunity for stakeholders like the organic farmers to weigh in. Most of the time, the state’s pest control doesn’t happen in farmland. But it could.

In an email, Lyle wrote:

[I]n rare cases, it may be necessary for the Department to require treatment by producers. While a great deal of time and resources are dedicated to finding organic approaches, if a suitable approach cannot be identified, a producer would not lose organic status. The organic industry worked with regulators to make sure that provision is in federal law.

The draft report notes that, in this scenario, organic farmers would lose money, because they’d have to sell their crop without the organic premium that season. But they could return to organic production the next year. Individual farmers would pay a price — but in the long run, there would be less spraying overall, and fewer losses for organic farmers at large.

 

 

 

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FreshFruitPortal.com

 

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2014/08/25/usda-researcher-reveals-encouraging-results-of-phosphine-fumigation-tests/?country=australia

August 25th, 2014
Tests carried out by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have indicated fumigation of fresh fruit using phosphine is a promising alternative to the widespread methyl bromide, for an array of reasons including environmental impacts and food quality.

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Methyl bromide fumigation is being gradually phased out throughout the world, partly as it is particularly damaging to the environment and destroys the atmospheric ozone.

Speaking at the International Seminar on the Potential Uses of Phosphine as a Fumigation Treatment, organized by the company Fosfoquim and held in the Chilean capital Santiago, a U.S. Agriculture Research Service (ARS) representative said the produce industry was eager to find practical alternatives to methyl bromide.

“There’s an enormous push from our fresh fruit exporters to put another tool in the basket,” ARS chemical researcher Dr. Spencer Walse told the audience.

“Methyl bromide is a ball of politics, economics and science. It is safe to say it is now out of the court of science and into a political and economic issue.”

Easily transferable

During his talk, Walse explained the benefits of using phosphine as an alternative fumigation were in no way limited to environmental impacts, but included being able to maintain the cold chain supply, not having to adjust the treatment according to the type or weight of specific commodities, and improving worker safety.

“A very unique and advantageous feature of phosphine relative to methyl bromide is we no longer have to worry about how much load is in the fumigation chamber, or really what type is in the fumigation chamber, because phosphine takes longer to work than methyl bromide,” he said.

“With the phosphine fumigation the insecticidal data that we collect on one commodity, as long as it’s a fresh fruit – a fruit filled with water – should be very easily transferable to other fresh fruit.

“It turns out that even over the first couple of hours of fumigation, the phosphine is going into the commodity faster than methyl bromide.

“That we know by monitoring the absorbing in the very early stages of the fumigation. Then when we can see that relative ability of that gas to go into the load reflected in how fast the gas comes out of the load.”

The safety aspect also apply to consumers, since lower chemical residue is left on the fruit than with methyl bromide.

In addition to the safety credentials of the phosphine treatment, Walse discovered that it had a positive effect on the quality of fruits like cherries compared to control samples after a couple of days, as browning occurred at a slower rate.

Need for the efficacy data

Companies like Fosfoquim have been successfully using phosphine fumigation treatments since 2001, and there has been a huge diversification in its global application in recent years.

Walse said that phosphine didn’t fall immediately into place as an alternative to methyl bromide in the U.S. because extensive scientific tests needed to be carried out to assess a range of aspects relating to the treatment.

“We need the efficacy data and the insecticidal toxicity needs to be consistent with international phytosanitary protocols. We also need to examine what the impacts of the treatment are on each pest that needs to be examined,” he said.

Thus far the tests into insecticidal toxicity have been encouraging, with the fumigation treatment found to be effective against common fruit pests such as the Asian citrus Psyllid, Aonidiella aurantii (red scale), Drosophila Suzukii and Epiphyas postvittana (light brown apple moth).

Logistical and operational changes

While Walse praised several key aspects of phosphine fumigation and said it was a strong and feasible alternative to methyl bromide, he added there would undoubtedly be a large cost for companies who wished to make the transition and they would have to wait longer for the fruit to be treated.

“The cons of course are related to the fact that in general we’re dealing with a longer treatment time. It’s not so bad because we’re obviously at cold temperatures but instead of hours we’re now talking about days,” he said.

“It [also] requires a change in infrastructure, and industries have to recognize this. When you change it’s going to cost money to modify your operations and that’s going to be reflected by a change in logistics.”

Photo: http://www.shutterstock.com

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Philippines Invasive Species Aug  2014-5a

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FreshFruitPortal.com

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2014/07/21/first-cbs-inspection-in-europe-disappointing-for-south-african-citrus-growers/?country=australia

July 21st, 2014
The South African citrus industry is on the hunt for answers as to how a consignment with citrus black spot (CBS) was intercepted in Europe, after receiving word from plant health authorities in the Netherlands today.

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The interception is the first this year and as a result the industry has been issued a notification of phytosanitary non-compliance.

“This is disappointing news particularly considering the steps taken to ensure compliance with, and demonstrate commitment to meeting, the European Union’s requirements, at enormous cost to the SA government and citrus industry – including testing regimes and a comprehensive CBS risk management,” Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) of Southern Africa CEO Justin Chadwick said in a release.

 

“The Citrus Growers Association (CGA) will today dispatch an accredited expert to accompany representatives of the DAFF [Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries] to the farm in question to investigate how CBS could have slipped through the risk management net and, importantly, to propose any remedial measures necessary to prevent a reoccurrence.”

Chadwick said CGA’s special envoy to the EU, Deon Joubert, was dispatched to Europe today for discussions on the matter with all stakeholders.

“While today’s interception is a setback, it is also an opportunity for us to improve our risk management processes, which we will continue to implement in order to ensure unrestricted trade conditions for the immediate future,” Chadwick said.

The executive emphasized that for the long term, it was important to note that there has been no agreement since 1992 between South Africa and the European Union on the risk of CBS being transmitted by fruit.

“There is still no agreement on whether commercial fruit from areas where CBS is present is a risk to citrus-producing countries of the EU where CBS is absent, the magnitude of any possible risk, or the measures required for adequate mitigation of the actual risk,” he said.

“It remains imperative that this difference of opinion – and the science that underlies it – is resolved once and for all.”

He added the EU continued to be an important historic market for the South African citrus industry.

“The CGA calls on the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Minister Senzeni Zokwana, to prioritise the swift and amicable resolution of the CBS dispute with the European Union,” Chadwick said.

“The future of this important agricultural sector, the 120 000 jobs and their 1,2 million dependents depend on it.”

Photo: http://www.shutterstock.com

http://www.freshfruitportal.com

 

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