Dimethoate found in two lots of domestic apples


<div>The Finnish grown Rantala and Melba (2nd class) apples have been withdrawn from the market due to too high levels of dimethoate residues. The maximum permissible level of dimethoate in apples is 0.02 mg/kg. In Evira’s tests 0.043 mg/kg dimethoate was found in the Rantala variety and 0.056 mg/kg in the Melba variety. 352 kg of the Rantala variety and 60 kg of the Melba variety were supplied for sale in August-September. Both varieties came from the same orchard. These apple varieties are a small part of the apple cultivations in the orchard. Other orchards that were examined were in accordance with the regulations. Rantala apples have been for sale in the market squares in Hämeenlinna, Loimaa and Valkeakoski, at the markets in Hankoo, Turku and Hämeenlinna, and at the Kaivokäytävä commercial hall in Helsinki. Melba apples have been for sale at the market squares in Hämeenlinna and Valkeakoski and at the Kauppatori market square in Helsinki.</div>

The observed levels mean in practice that adults and children over one year can eat the apples in question without limitations and without danger. The safe limit for children under one year is half a kilogram a day, which small children would not eat in practice anyway.

Dimethoate residues have been tested for in 82 Finnish apple samples in the period 2002-2005. Of the samples, two contained dimethoate, but the levels were below the maximum permissible level. This year dimethoate residues have been examined for in six samples so far, of which only the two cases mentioned here exceeded the maximum permissible level. In the cases in question the spraying was done later than the instructions for use called for, and the concentration of the preparation was slightly higher than recommended in the instructions. With apples only one treatment after flowering is permitted and the preparation is not permitted to be used later than a week after flowering has finished.

Dimethoate residues in other plants have also been examined annually, and no cases of the maximum permissible level being exceeded have been noted. In addition to dimethoate, the residues of many pesticides are tested for annually through Evira’s monitoring program. Evira also monitors the intake of control substances by consumers, and the next intake assessment will be started in 2008.

In 2002 the EU Commission changed, among other things, the maximum permissible level of dimethoate in apples from 1 mg per kg to 0.02 mg per kg. The Finnish authorities predicted as early as in the latter half of the 1990s that there would be changes made to the maximum residue levels for different plants by checking the limitations for use of dimethoate preparations. A full assessment of dimethoate is being completed in the EU and in Finland the instructions for or limitations of use will be changed accordingly, if necessary. Evira is clarifying even before the assessment is completed, the instructions for use of all dimethoate preparations.

Preparations containing dimethoate have been used in Finland since the 1960’s. Dimethoate preparations are authorized for the control of insect pests on cereal, field grown vegetables and currants, gooseberries and apples. Dimethoate is authorized in many EU member countries for use on for example apples, pears and quinces.

For additional information, please contact:
Deputy Director Eija-Leena Hynninen, tel. +358 40 552 1858, authorization of plant protection products and monitoring of their use
Senior Food Control Officer, Arja Kaiponen, tel. +358 20 77 24288, control of residues of plant protection products
Senior Officer Juha Laakso tel. + 358 20 77 25189, risk assessment and health effects of residues of plant protection products

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