Following public consultation, Australia’s chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), suspended the registration and labels of chemical products containing dimethoate in September 2023. The dimethoate suspension applies to use as a post-harvest dip for fruit with inedible peel such as mangoes and avocados.

The APVMA advised that they received reports indicating the maximum residue limit (MRL) for dimethoate, has been exceeded in avocados and mangos. According to information available, the MRL exceedance was likely due to dimethoate use as a post-harvest dip in accordance with approved instructions.

The APVMA stated that the level of residues detected are unlikely to pose a significant risk to human health but proposed a suspension of these specific dimethoate products as a precautionary measure.

Dimethoate and its breakdown product omethoate are organophosphate insecticides. It has been used in horticulture and agriculture since the 1950s to control more than 80 insect pests, including fruit flies.

Mangoes and avocados were dipped or sprayed with the insecticide to control Queensland fruit fly, a native pest in eastern and northern Australia.

The suspension only applies to dimethoate used as a post-harvest dip, but it is still licensed for use until harvest.

The APVMA has noted that they remain satisfied that all other approved uses of dimethoate are safe.

For further information please refer to the APVMA Gazette No. 19 (19 Sep 2003).