MAFF advisers have dismissed a report which found a link between organophosphorous sheep dip exposure and nerve damage in farmers.
The veterinary products committee, which reviewed the report by the Institute of Occupational Health, said the study did not provide sufficient evidence to support a link between nerve damage and long-term low-level exposure to OP sheep dips.
The conclusions reached by the IOH, published in the medical journal The Lancet, were not adequately supported by the data provided in the full report, the committee said.
It told MAFF that sales of OP dips should continue but the certificate of competence scheme should be reviewed after one year.
Farm minister William Waldegrave said the government had accepted the VPCs advice in full. "In doing so, we are mindful of the continuing reports of outbreaks of sheep scab and the importance of OP dips to animal welfare," he added.