9 May 1997

Protocols face pesticide flack

PRODUCER protocols are in danger of unfairly restricting the choice of pesticides available to growers.

That is the view of Chris Delf of Whyte Agrochemicals. He cites Tescos Natures Choice protocol for potatoes as an example.

"There is a lot of confusion out there. Some people are reluctant to use products if they do not appear on the list. That is pushing farmers down a certain route, which may not be the best route."

Tesco acknowledges that some products are excluded, because they put more pesticide into the environment. But it refutes accusations of confusing listings.

Only products which contain the same active ingredient and formulation as the examples in the protocol, and apply the same or less active ingredient when used at label rates, may be used, it says.

It makes no apology for going beyond PSD approvals. "It is clear that consumer preference over-rides scientific acceptability. It is what the public wants," says a spokesman.

Mr Delf believes growers need clearer guidance. Tescos spokesman says advice is readily available from Tesco direct, crop technologists or packers.n