Written Answers. - Use of Organophosphate.

Denis Naughten

Question:

449 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the plans, if any, he has to ban the use of organophosphates in sheep dip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2037/99]

The availability of organophosphate sheep dips is primarily a matter for the Irish Medicines Board. For as long as such products are available I am, however, most anxious that they be used safely by the farming community. Under Regulation 31(6)(e) of the Animal Remedies Regulations, 1996, retailers of animal remedies cannot possess, sell or supply an animal remedy which consists of or contains an OP substance unless and until a person has completed an appropriate training course approved by the Minister. Such a course was developed by the BASIS Company which was established in May, 1993 by the Animal and Plant Health Association and the Federation of Agrochemical Retail Merchants to promote good standards in relation to the storage and handling of pesticides and to issue guidelines on safety statements.

The establishment of BASIS and the production of its guidelines were funded by the European Commission as part of the European Year of Safety, Hygiene and Health protection at Work. Given this background a BASIS Veterinary Committee was established to advise on the organisation of training courses for retailers of OP dips. The BASIS Committee has representatives of APHA – Animal and Plant Health Association – FARM – Federation of Agricultural Retailers and Merchants – ICOS – Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society – the Health and Safety Authority and my Department and is intended to be representative of all the interested parties. A training syllabus was drawn up and Teagasc has organised a series of courses held around the country. To date some 800 people have completed the course.

Furthermore, under Regulation 37 of the regulations, retailers must undergo special training in all aspects of retailing in animal remedies within three years of their coming into operation – August 1996. Five companies have been approved by the Department to give such courses. This course also incorporates training in the sale of OP sheep dips.