About Permits

The selective use of plant protection products to control harmful pests, weeds and plant diseases, is critical to providing a reliable, high quality, food supply.

TWO national government agencies regulate the use of plant protection products in Australia.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is responsible for approving agricultural and veterinary chemical products for use in Australia. Product registration requires exhaustive efficacy and crop residue
testing for each crop under a range of climatic conditions.Maximum Residue Testing MRL

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) is responsible for assessing dietary exposure to plant protection products and consult with regulators and the public to set maximum residue limits (MRL’s).

MRL’s are determined by a number of factors including:

  • How much of the food is eaten in the average diet.
  • How toxic the pesticide is.
  • How easily the food absorbs the pesticide.

Penalties may apply if food is sold which contain residues of a product
that haven�t been specifically approved by the APVMA for use in
that crop, or exceed the MRL set by FSANZ.

Registering a product for small volume vegetable crops is often uneconomic
yet growers risk severe losses if they do not protect their crops
and penalties if they use these products “Off-Label”.

Fortunately, the National Permit System allows for this
market reality.

The APVMA will issue a permit
for the ‘minor use’ of products
once they are satisfied that the product – used in accordance
with the permit – will control the pest without harmful
effects to people, the crops or the environment.

list of current
APVMA permits as of June 2008 is available here
(pdf, 71kb).

read the labelTo be more involved in the minor-use
permit project and receive regular permit updates, contact:

Peter DalSanto at AgAware
Consulting Pty Ltd

Users should always obtain a copy of the
permit and understand it well before using the product to avoid breaching
the permitted conditions of use.


  1. There is often a delay between APVMA registration and FSANZ setting
    the MRL. Residues of ‘new’ product must be below detectable limits
    until the FSANZ MRL is set.

  2. MRL’s in other countries may be different to Australia and NZ. Make
    sure you know the MRL specifications before applying
    products to crops destined for export markets.

Check product registrations with the APVMA.
Check MRL’s in the Australia and New Zealand Food
Standards Code

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