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Industry statement on Chlorpropham (CIPC)

19 June 2019

We understand that on 17 June 2019 the European Union’s Health and Food Safety Directorate-General Appeal Committee concluded Chlorpropham’s (CIPC) approval for use both as a herbicide and as a sprout suppressant cannot be renewed.

CIPC has been undergoing a routine review in Europe since 2015 and it has been discussed at successive SCoPAFF (Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed) meetings and the Appeal Committee, and no opinion was reached.

The Chlorpropham Task Force, which is made up of the companies who hold approvals to distribute CIPC, today (18 June ) released a statement relating to the consequences of non-renewal  

The Chlorpropham Task Force statement

The implementing regulation (EU 2019/989 of 17 June) for non-renewal was published in the Official Journal (OJ) on 18 June 2019 and comes into force 20 days after publication.

The withdrawal period stated within the regulation is 8 January 2020 for all member states to withdraw authorisations of products containing CIPC, and the maximum grace period for use, storage and disposal shall expire 8 October 2020 at the latest.

UK CRD will need to decide on suitable withdrawal periods and will shortly issue withdrawal notices on the HSE website

The Task Force (TF) expects that the end date for storage, disposal and use will closely follow the EU position but these are not confirmed until publication by CRD.

It will be illegal to use CIPC in the UK beyond these end dates and growers/store managers are advised to check with their supply chain partners/customers prior to treating crop with CIPC.

The maximum residue limit (MRL) of 10ppm is expected to be in place for the 2019/2020 potato storage season. However, because the active substance is not renewed the MRL could fall to near zero within 2 years, and the import of potato products into Europe with residues of CIPC above this level will not be permitted.

An application for a temporary MRL above the limit of quantification (LoQ) to cover previous store contamination is being sought by Certis and UPL to prevent the MRL falling to LoQ in the short term. This limit will be temporary and will differentiate between contamination and illegal use.”

Why has this decision been reached by the European Commission?

Although this decision did not achieve universal acceptance in Europe among its Member States, the European Commission, based on the advice of EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), considered that there could be a risk to consumers. In the absence of data, assumptions have been made on inputs into the consumer risk assessment.

The UK submitted new data to CRD in July 2017 by the Task Force, but it was not possible to submit this data into the EU review. Moreover, it has not been possible to take into account the ways potatoes are consumed and EFSA could not effectively assume that tubers are eaten unwashed and raw. This results in a calculated exceedance of the Acute Reference Dose (ARfD).  

Disappointing outcome

It is disappointing that a dossier considered complete at the start of the review was found lacking in the closing stages, without an opportunity to submit further data. Any further consideration of CIPC in Europe would be as a new active substance.

Advice and support from AHDB

During the grace period, Stewardship will continue to be a statutory label requirement and the potato industry will continue to act diligently to maintain high standards of management. 

AHDB Potatoes chair Sophie Churchill said: “The AHDB Potatoes board is very aware of the impact of the loss of CIPC to individual businesses, particularly those focused on long term storage. We will continue to support industry and invest in research and knowledge exchange to help industry through this challenging situation.    

Rob Clayton, Sector Strategy Director for AHDB Potatoes, said: “We have been monitoring this situation closely for some time and supporting growers and the industry in making the transition from CIPC to alternatives is a top priority for us. In January we announced a ring-fenced a fund of over £800,000 to ensure all those who store potatoes have access to the advice they need. This builds on an existing spend of £800,000 per year on storage research.”

Storage experts from AHDB delivered talks on the future of sprout suppression at eight regional events over the winter. A summary of the event content can be found here:

Growers and store managers can now get one-to-one advice on how to manage their own stores and a visit from a storage expert. In May AHDB launched a Storage Network scheme, where AHDB has facilitated commercial storage advisors to deliver services to industry without charge. The scheme is designed to ensure store managers feel as supported as possible during this process.

In September, we began four additional research projects focussed on sprout suppression post-CIPC, bolstering a programme of work that has been in progress for a number of years. The preliminary findings from these projects are being shared at regional events more dates to be announced soon.

In addition the AHDB team is on hand to discuss alternatives and give practical advice via our existing free storage advice line on 0800 02 82 111.

The results and data from research projects will also be available through training courses, newsletters and through the new storage hub on the AHDB website.

Further information and resources are available here: Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group

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