Post harvest chemical treatment

Agricultural produce are often treated with agricultural chemicals after they are harvested. This practice is known as 'post harvest chemical treatment'.

The objective of post-harvest chemical treatments is to address pest and disease problems that may arise during the transport and storage of a commodity.

Examples of pest problems include:

  • weevils and other insects infesting cereal grains during storage
  • fungal pathogens such as botrytis infecting table grapes
  • superficial scald infecting pome fruit

Agricultural produce destined for interstate transport may be treated with agricultural chemicals to meet quarantine requirements.

Owner responsibilities

Growers must be aware of the chain of custody through which their produce passes, and of any potential chemicals used by others in the chain.

The produce owner is responsible for ensuring it meets food standards and may be held accountable for any unacceptable chemical residues detected in the produce.

For growers involved in quality assurance systems, the potential unauthorised treatment of their produce must be regarded as a significant critical control point and processes must be put in place to negate this risk.

Permission to treat produce

People who transport or handle agricultural produce cannot treat produce with agricultural chemicals without written permission from the produce owner.

This ensures that unacceptable chemical residues do not occur during processing and transporting. This also protects the produce owner who could otherwise suffer a loss through the actions of another person.

The owner can give permission for a single treatment using 1 chemical, or for a range of treatments over a longer time.

There is no special form required to get permission to treat produce. Example of a form that may be used:

The person treating the produce should retain the permission form as a reference and provide a copy to the produce owner upon request.

Page last updated: 29 Jun 2020