Proposal to ban mancozeb use on potatoes underway

Potatoes in Canada
October 25, 2018 | Canada
By Potatoes in Canada
Health Canada is proposing to cancel all uses of mancozeb, except for use on greenhouse tobacco, due to unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. The re-evaluation removes the exception that allowed foliar application of mancozeb on potatoes.

Mancozeb is a broad-spectrum fungicide for agriculture and horticulture crops, including 400,000 acres of potatoes. This past summer the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) completed a re-evaluation of mancozeb and banned its use on all horticultural crops except potatoes. However, protests from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA) and the grower community convinced PMRA to restart the re-evaluation.

Currently, the old label for mancozeb still applies and the fungicide can still be used on potatoes. The new consultation process for the revised mancozeb decision began Oct. 5, 2018 and will last for three months, until Jan. 3, 2019. Whether through association or directly to the PMRA, there are different ways for producers to participate in the consultation process. 

"OFVGA continues to respond on behalf of its membership to the ongoing re-evaluation of mancozeb and other active ingredients," said Chris Duyvelshoff, OFVGA crop protection advisor, in an emailed statement. Mancozeb and other Group M fungicides play a critical role in disease control and resistance management in many crops, including potatoes, Duyvelshoff continues. The OFVGA reiterates that growers can provide comments via their provincial/national association or directly to the PMRA.

To get involved in the consultation process, PMRA has released the full consultation document and advising those wishing to provide feedback to read the science evaluation that is the basis of their regulatory decision. Comments can then be submitted to the PMRA Publications section. More information on the Mancozeb consultation process is available.

If the proposed re-evaluation is approved, mancozeb will no longer be available for use on potatoes. The decision limits the growers’ toolbox and raises resistance issues associated with potentially losing the mancozeb fungicide. Growers will compete with American and European growers who are still able to use mancozeb.

Mancozeb was first registered as a broad spectrum fungicide in the United States in 1948, and continues to be registered after a reregistration eligibility decision in 2005. However, some uses for mancozeb such as athletic fields, residential lawns, and pineapple propagation use have been canceled. A full breakdown of the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s decision on mancozeb is available.

Mancozeb is currently authorized in 28 EU states and the initial authorization which lasted until 2016, was extended until 2018. The European Food Safety Authority public consultation on mancozeb finished on April 28, 2018 and the authorization of mancozeb is expected to take place sometime in October 2018. Overall, the same concerns about mancozeb in Canada are not being raised elsewhere.

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