EPA fines basil farmer $2500 for misuse of pesticides

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is reminding horticultural growers to use and store pesticides correctly and ensure pesticide qualifications are valid after issuing fines totaling $2500 to a basil grower for unlawfully using pesticides on produce, operating without the correct qualifications, not storing pesticides appropriately and having no records.

EPA Director of Hazardous Materials, Chemicals and Radiation Asela Atapattu said all horticultural growers have a responsibility to ensure lawful pesticides are used on produce, that they have the right qualifications, records are complete and up to date and their pesticides are stored appropriately.

On 26 October 2018, the EPA received reports about pesticide residue exceedances on a Basil sample obtained from a farm outside of Sydney The EPA commenced an investigation.

The investigation found that pesticides were being stored inappropriately, the producer was using pesticides on produce unlawfully, the producer’s pesticide usage certification had expired, and he was not keeping pesticide application records.

The information obtained during the onsite investigation confirmed that the basil grower had not complied with several regulatory requirements relating to the use of pesticides on the property.

“We are very concerned that the usage of pesticides was unlawful, Mr Atapattu said.

“Pesticides must only be used by people who have been appropriately trained and understand the requirements.

“Horticultural and broad acre growers have a responsibility to ensure they are using pesticides appropriately. This includes following product label instructions carefully, adequate record keeping and storage of pesticides in a manner which is safe and does not harm the environment, ” Mr Atapattu said.

The community plays an important role in helping to monitor pesticide activities. If you are concerned about illegal pesticide use, or you have knowledge of an incident, please call the 24/7 Environment Line on 131 555.

For more information on the 1080 Pesticides Control Order visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/pesticides/pco.htm or call the Environment Line on 131 555.