“The procedural problem that has been identified in the U. S. didn’t occur here.”
– PIERRE BEAUCHAMP, PMRA
The abrupt removal of the agricultural insecticide spirotetramat from the market in the United States will not affect the product’s status in this country.
“The short answer is no,” said Pierre Beauchamp of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) when asked if the chemical will be pulled from store shelves in Canada.
A recent ruling by a district court in New York state banned the sale of spirotetramat in the U. S. because the federal Environmental Protection Agency failed to follow required procedure in approving the pesticide. The order goes into effect Jan. 15.
The court ruled EPA did not adhere to the proper advance notice and public comment period required by federal law.
But spirotetramat will remain available in Canada because proper procedure was followed in approving it here, said Beauchamp, PMRA’s director general for value and sustainability assessment.
“We followed due process. It was granted full registration. It went through a consultation period. We got no comment,” he said.
“Basically, the procedural problem that has been identified in the U. S. didn’t occur here.”
Spirotetramat, manufactured by Bayer CropScience and sold under the trade names Movento and Ulitor, is primarily used to control insects in horticultural crops.
Bayer describes Movento as a new two-way systemic foliar insecticide to control a broad range of sucking insect pests in apples, grapes and a number of vegetable crops.
Movento is primarily used in Manitoba to control aphids in potato crops. But its use is limited because “the older, cheaper stuff still works,” said Brent Elliott, a Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives entomologist.
Environmental groups have opposed Movento as potentially toxic to honeybees. The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the largest environmental groups in the U. S., applauded the New York court ruling.
“This sends EPA and Bayer back to the drawing board to reconsider the potential harm to bees caused by this new pesticide,” said Aaron Colangelo, an NRDC lawyer, in a statement.
The Sierra Club of Canada called on Ottawa to voluntarily pull Movento.
“Health Canada should immediately move to ban this pesticide and review how we evaluate the impact of pesticides and other chemicals on the environment,” said executive director John Bennett.
But Beauchamp said the court ruling dealt only with process and did not address toxicity.
“It’s kind of a red herring when we look at it. It doesn’t address a real concern.”
Beauchamp said Canadian registration identifies the risk to bees on Movento’s product label and provides instruction on how to handle it.
The Canadian label says the product can be toxic to bees through pollen and nectar. For that reason, it should not be applied during the crop flowering period.
Elliott said Movento is applied to control potato aphids in late July and early August after the plants have ceased flowering.
Provincial apiculturist Rheal Lafreniere said bees may occasionally alight on plants treated with Movento while foraging. But MAFRI has not seen much bee mortality because of that. [email protected]