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February 14, 2011

Minister to Register Toxicity of all Agricultural Chemicals in Brazil

The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture is placing a priority on studying and registering the toxicity of the all the agricultural chemicals sold in the country. The Minister is also going to employ a color coded system that would allow users to easily asses the toxicity of the chemical. Red would be used for the most highly toxic chemicals, yellow for medium toxicity, and blue or green for the least toxic chemicals. The goal of the program is to identify which chemicals are the less toxic and most effective in controlling weeds, pests, and diseases.

Chemicals used in major and minor crops will be evaluated as well as what is considered biological controls for organic products. The Ministry has already studied 1,468 chemicals and identified 61% as being in the low toxicity range. The initial registry for minor crops such as vegetables and fruits was established in 2010 when 40 chemicals were studied and 180 are slated for evaluation in 2011.

Generic chemicals will be evaluated as well for their effectiveness. Producers can save up to 30% by using generic chemicals and currently there are more than 200 generic chemicals in use in Brazil.

The Ministry is also establishing standards for organic food production and the use of biological chemicals will be part of those standards. Currently there are 22 biological fungicides and insecticides used in Brazil. The Ministry hopes to have a comprehensive set of standards for organic food production by the end of 2012.