The potato industry’s Chlorpropham (CIPC) stewardship group is introducing a potato store self-audit this season to allow managers to assess their stores’ suitability for applications of the sprout suppressant.
The audit, produced in conjunction with the Assured Produce scheme, details seven key issues, from store location and integrity to bulk and box store suitability and the amount of air space in the store and at the CIPC application point.
Store managers should rate their store in one of three categories for each issue, explained the Potato Council‘s Mike Storey at the Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research event.
“If you get anything in the red category, you should do something about it and, if you get more than two reds, the store really isn’t suitable for CIPC use.”
Supply chains in the future could use the checklist to make sure the most appropriate stores were used where CIPC was required, he suggested, although for this season the audit was voluntary, he stressed.
Use of the sprout suppressant has come under increasing pressure in recent seasons, particularly with retailers responding to consumer pressure for nil pesticide residues on foodstuffs.
That led to new industry limits on how much CIPC could be used in stores in different market sectors – 63.75g/t of active ingredient can be used on crops destined for processing, or 36g/t on fresh crops.
The difference in limits had opened up an area of concern, Dr Storey pointed out. “For chip shops the limit is 63.75g/t, which is okay when the potatoes are used directly for chips, but there is an issue when stock is moved with supply chains or merchants for alternative use,” he said.
“For example, where the fry colour isn’t up to spec, loads might be split with the bigger potatoes going for bakers in the fresh market, where there is a 36g limit.
“If we then have CIPC exceeding the maximum residue limit, it doesn’t look good for the industry.”
It meant good traceability of stocks within the entire supply chain was required, he stressed. “It is the responsibility of the whole supply chain to make sure records are passed on – the buyer should be requesting that information so they don’t get caught out.”