News 180 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Australia to phase out pig & poultry drug

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), is to phase out the use of the veterinary product, dimetridazole, on birds and animals destined for human consumption.

Dimetridazole is used for treating and preventing blackhead – a protozoan disease - 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.

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.

"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," said Martin Holmes, Program Manager (Veterinary Medicines).

Phase-out period
A two-year phase out period had been proposed and the APVMA will issue new instructions on how these products are to be used and handled during this period.

Six products containing dimetridazole are registered for use in Australia.

Registrations of the products used on pigeons, caged birds and game birds, not destined for human consumption will be allowed to continue but with amended labels.

Public safety prevails
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.

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.

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