Independents to take over
Government OP committee
By FWi staff
THE GOVERNMENT is to appoint a team of independent experts to its advisory committee on organophosphate insecticides, it was announced yesterday (Thursday).
In a move which will boost campaigners calls to have organophosphates (OPs) banned completely, the experts will replace Government appointed officials who will now only be present at meetings as observers.
Campaigners have frequently accused the advisory committee of being more concerned with the interests of OP manufacturers rather than those of consumers.
Many farmers have long blamed OPs for causing debilitating illnesses and cases of human poisoning. Farmers are legally required to dip sheep in OP insecticide but the chemicals are also widely used as a nerve agent in modern warfare.
Under the new rules, the Government procedures for revoking licenses authorising the use of OPs will also be speeded up. According to a MAFF report released today, this will allow for OPs to be quickly withdrawn in cases where they are found to be the source of poisoning and illness.
“It is our intention to subject every piece of available evidence on OPs to rigorous and transparent scrutiny,” said agriculture minister Jack Cunningham. “We are far from complacent about the continuing concerns about the possible health.”