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Australia to Phase Out Use of Blackhead Treatment Dimetridazole

by 5m Editor
14 May 2007, at 11:41am

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), has today announced it will phase out the use of the veterinary product, dimetridazole, on birds and animals destined for human consumption.

Dimetridazole is used to treat disease in pigs, poultry and caged birds.

A review by the agricultural and veterinary chemicals regulator has found dimetridazole is a potential carcinogen and that its use in food-producing species poses undue risks to workers and consumers.

Chicken and turkey breeders say their flocks could be decimated following a ban on the only treatment for the fatal disease, 'blackhead'.

“As a result of this review, we now propose to cancel the registrations and label approvals for dimetridazole products used in pigs, chickens and turkeys destined for human consumption,” Mr Martin Holmes, Program Manager (Veterinary Medicines) said today.

“We have proposed a two-year phase out period. The APVMA will issue new instructions on how these products are to be used and handled during this period,” Mr Holmes said.

Dimetridazole is used for treating and preventing blackhead in breeding flocks of chickens and turkeys and in game birds, and for preventing swine dysentery in pigs. The chemical is also used for treating canker in pigeons and caged birds.

Six products containing dimetridazole are registered for use in Australia.

Mr Holmes said registrations of the products used on pigeons, caged birds and game birds, not destined for human consumption would be allowed to continue but with amended labels.

Mr Holmes said the APVMA recognised there would be impacts of this decision for the pig and poultry industries but that public health and safety was a mandated responsibility for the regulator.

“Throughout this review process we have consulted with the pig and poultry industries to ensure they understand the issues and have time to prepare for these changes,” Mr Holmes said.

The APVMA now requires registrants to submit varied labels for approval. The final review report and regulatory decision is expected in June 2007.

Guidance for registrants and users of dimetridazole products is available on the APVMA website at www.apvma.gov.au/chemrev/dimetridazole.shtml.

5m Editor