Chemical watchdog bites with Perth raids

16 May, 2008 10:46 AM
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MYSTERY surrounds the identity of a local importer and maker of agricultural chemicals which was raided by the industry’s watchdog and police last week.

Searching for evidence in a fraud investigation, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) and the Australian Federal Police executed search warrants at three premises linked to an importer and formulator of agricultural chemical products in Perth.

APVMA regulatory strategy and compliance program manager Neville Matthew said the authority was exercising its regulatory responsibility in conducting the investigation.

Mr Matthew said it was being investigated if the company had fraudulently submitted details of non-existent pesticide manufacturing sites in overseas locations.

The alleged fraud is understood to have been committed in the act of seeking registration for a range of chemical products used for broadacre agricultural use in Australia.

Industry sources said the practice of falsifying registration details is employed so importers can obtain chemicals cheaper than those on offer in the open market.

The chemicals used could contain impurities that could be toxic so the APVMA have decided to get tough on the practice.

The products are believed to be made by second tier, or "back yard" chemical manufacturers in India and China.

The alleged illegal practice raises serious concerns for farm and environmental safety.

It could undermine farmers’ abilities to provide quality assurance for end products grown using the falsely registered chemicals, and there are also insurance implications.

Mr Matthew said it was a condition of registration that the active constituents for the products were manufactured at sites known to and approved by the APVMA.

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