17 August 2000
OP dips ‘unlikley before mid-November’
By Isabel Davies
Sheep dip manufacturers have warned that organophosphate dips are unlikely to return to the market until mid-November.
This is despite the government giving the go-ahead for their return under interim arrangements announced earlier in the week.
Baroness Hayman met with officials from the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH), which represents OP manufacturers on Wednesday (Aug 16).
After the meeting, NOAH director Roger Cook said the product was unlikely to be back on the market before mid-November.
Companies will be wanting to get their products out earlier but it would be wrong to create false hope in farmers minds, said Mr Cook.
There were a number of steps and procedures that needed to be completed both by manufacturers and the government said it would be extremely difficult to rush them.
Before OPs can be sold again, the Veterinary Products Committee must approve the wording of new labels.
That wont be done until its next meeting on Sept 21.
Mr Cook said: There are processes that have to be gone through. Everyone needs to be satisfied that the interim arrangements do satisfy safety concerns.
In the long term ministers maintain the containers must be redesigned so they have closed delivery systems which minimise exposure to OP concentrate.
But the government revealed on Tuesday (15 August) that the dips could be brought back to the market in the short term if a vented tap was fitted to containers and labels were amended.
Announcing the move, junior farm minister Baroness Hayman said the advice reflected concerns about animal welfare in the absence of OP sheep dips from the range of products available to combat sheep scab.
But she added that agreement to interim arrangements must be strictly time limited and would not extend beyond August 31 2001.