Mr Chris Williams, Assistant Director, Plant Programs, National Residue Survey (NRS), Australian Government Department of Agriculture, encourages growers and exporters to use the NRS to test their apples and pears for pesticide residues.
With the harvest season approaching, now’s the time to think about using the National Residue Survey (NRS) pome fruit program to test your fruit for pesticide residues.
Knowing about pesticide residues on your produce can help you identify potential problems, and act as a check against local quality assurance schemes and good agricultural practice.
With the Australian dollar falling and greater export opportunities presenting themselves, the NRS program can be a vital tool to compare your results against international import tolerances. Before exporting you can send NRS a representative sample of the consignment and identify the export market. Our information management system will compare any residues detected against both the Australian and export destinations standard.
Collecting and posting a produce sample is quick and easy – the NRS provides all the sampling equipment. Growers or pack houses lodge simple details about the samples on the NRS’s secure and confidential online system (to get a logon contact me). The test results are emailed to you within 10 days of our contract laboratory receiving your sample, and all results are confidential.
The NRS uses the overall data from the testing to publish an annual apple and pear brochure (As an example download the NRS 2012–13 for Apple and Pears, pdf 1.5Mb). The brochure highlights Australian pome fruit’s high compliance with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s maximum residue limits. This data helps the pome fruit industry when the Authority reviews chemicals and when new export markets for produce are explored.
Annually, and in close cooperation with Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL), the NRS reviews the choice of chemicals to be tested. Chemical groups covered by this year’s tests will include fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and the scald inhibitor (diphenylamine).
The testing program, which has been running since 1998, is available to all Australian-based pome fruit growers, packers and exporters and is a cooperative arrangement between NRS and APAL. The testing is funded by the 75-cent-per-tonne NRS levy on apple and pear production, so think about putting your levy funds to work by getting involved!
If you want more information about the program or how to get involved, or if you’re unsure if your local packing shed is sampling on your behalf, please contact me at the NRS on (02) 6272 3614 or at email@example.com.
Also, if you’ve participated in the NRS pome fruit program in the past and we haven’t yet contacted you, please get in touch with me.
Editor’s note: Apple and pear growers should note that there is no additional cost to making use of the NRS service to determine any pesticide residue on your fruit, your levy has already paid for it!