Northwest Horticultural Council
France Bans Use of Dimethoate on Cherries
April 27, 2017
Current Situation: France has renewed its 2016 ban on the use of dimethoate-based pesticides on fruits and vegetables, including their use on cherries. The ban instituted by France prohibits the import of cherries from countries that allow the use of dimethoate, even if that chemical was not used and is not present on the fruit. This effectively results in the suspension of imports of U.S. cherries into France. Organic cherries are specifically excluded from this ban and may continue to be imported.
Other European Union Member States (such as Italy and Spain) have indicated that they may also ban the use of dimethoate and its presence in cherry fruit. At present, only France has issued an official policy banning the product.
Background: Dimethoate is used for control of sucking and chewing insects and fruit flies, and is commonly used in orchards after harvest for control of western cherry fruit fly (CFF). Dimethoate may also be used to suppress Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD).
In 2016, France’s national food safety authority (ANSES) withdrew the permit for dimethoate-based pesticides, and announced the intent to ban the use of pesticides containing dimethoate on fruit and vegetables. This action is possible due to a safeguard clause permitted by Article 54 of EU Regulation 178/2002. France also requested that the European Commission activate emergency measures to ban all uses of dimethoate on imported cherries to “protect consumers and producers from unfair competition.” Turkish cherries have been the apparent focus of this regulatory attention.
After France’s announcement, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an assessment of dimethoate, concluding that based on the supporting information provided by France and other relevant sources, there was insufficient data to clearly exclude a risk to consumer health, and that a more comprehensive review would be appropriate.
Following EFSA’s assessment, the European Commission held an emergency meeting with European Union Member States to discuss the safety and use of dimethoate. At this meeting, it was concluded by the majority of the Member States that adoption of emergency measures to ban the use of dimethoate in the EU was not appropriate. Currently EFSA is evaluating dimethoate under the regular renewal process, and will take into account any new information provided by the registrant and manufacturer.
Reportedly, due to the European Commission’s lack of action on this issue, France has renewed its ban for 2017.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact the Northwest Horticultural Council at 509-453-3193.