NFU tells farming task force that chemical regulations put the UK at disadvantage

The way in which the UK's Chemical Regulation Directorate (CRD) determines pesticide re-entry periods - the time that crops must be left alone after treatment to avoid workers being exposed to harmful chemicals - is one of the main burdens faced by UK growers, the NFU has said.

The union's submission to the Government's farming regulation task force, led by former NFU director-general Richard Macdonald, states that the way in which the UK interprets common European risk assessment mode differs to other member states and puts UK growers at a disadvantage.

Chairman of the NFU horticultlure and potatoes board Sarah Petitt said in her fortnightly newsletter to NFU members: "One increasingly clear case where UK growers are set to be disadvantaged compared to their EU counterparts is over re-entry intervals.

"We have already taken this up as a clear case of gold plating by the UK Government, but it is also useful to have the added momentum of the regulation task force."

The NFU's submision to the task force, which aims to reduce the amount of red tape faced by growers, went on to say that although a standard European model was used and the European Food Safety Authority had produced guidelines on how to carry out the risk assessments, it was how they were interpreted that differs.

In the UK it is said to be assumed that protective clothing is not worn by workers re-entering the area. This is because the CRD felt workers may not know the crop has been sprayed, have access to personal protective equipment, or it may be impractical to wear such clothing in a glasshouse.

The NFU called for more flexibility to be given to growers and suggested that they be given the re-entry times for with and without protective clothing so that they can choose the most appropriate.

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