HC Deb 15 June 1999 vol 333 cc119-20W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what discussions he has had with users of Bacillus thuringiensis in respect of its safety; and what plans he has for future discussions; [86216]

(2) what plans he has to issue guidance and regulations concerning the use of Bacillus thuringiensis spores by organic farmers and forestry workers; [86214]

(3) what representations he has received from producers of Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria concerning its safety. [86215]

Mr. Rooker

One strain of Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium, is specified as the active ingredient in a number of insecticide products approved for use on ornamental plants, vegetables, fruit crops and fruit trees in the UK. No products containing Bacillus thuringiensis have approval for use in forestry in this country.

Following recent reports of possible adverse effects from a particular strain of Bacillus thuringiensis (not approved for use in the UK), the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) has demanded information from the main producer of approved products on whether those effects could arise from the use of the Bacillus thuringiensis strains approved in the UK. Their representations are awaited and will be promptly evaluated.

The Government have not yet been asked for, or sought, discussions with users of Bacillus thuringiensis, but we will consider whether this would be appropriate in the light of any information the producer provides.

Information to help users use pesticides correctly is given on each product's label—the content of which must comply with any requirements set by Government. If additional restrictions need to be placed on the use of Bacillus thuringiensis, approval holders will be required to add these to their labels.

All pesticides are regulated to provide protection for people—including pesticide users—and the environment. Detailed scientific information supplied by applicant companies is evaluated by the Government and their independent advisers; only if a pesticide can be used without unacceptable risk to people and the environment will Ministers approve it. All approved pesticides are subject to routine review and may be reviewed at any time if particular concerns arise.