Chemical users must only use agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals that are registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). It's an offence to supply or use unregistered agricultural chemicals, and there are significant penalties.
A searchable database of registered chemicals in Australia can be found at the PubCRIS database.
Benefits of registered chemicals
Registered agricultural chemicals have passed a rigorous testing program that ensures the products are fit for their intended use. In addition to efficacy testing to make sure products do what they claim to do, registered chemical products have also passed many other tests, including:
These tests ensure that appropriate product label controls can be applied to manage identified risks.
Manufacturers of registered chemical products also provide a warranty when their products are used according to the label instructions.
Risks of using unregistered chemicals
Growers should have a number of concerns regarding the use of unregistered agricultural chemicals, including:
- legal and financial repercussions — the supply and use of unregistered agricultural chemicals are offences that carry significant penalties
- health risks — impact on public and human health through potential contaminants and other unknown substances in the product
- environmental risks — contaminants can cause crops to fail or have an impact on the environment and animal welfare
- unknown product and no warranty — the actual ingredients in an unregistered product may differ from what is claimed and there is no warranty if the product is faulty
- market access restrictions — contaminants in unregistered chemical products can leave unacceptable residues in a crop or commodity being treated, which can exclude growers from vital markets
- risk of getting caught — laboratory analysis for agvet chemical residue can detect unregistered chemicals in produce. These tests are always improving and there's a high chance that they will be identified and investigated by Agriculture Victoria.