Fipronil, an insecticide being used to kill flies and ticks, has been found to have exceeded the Maximum Residue Limit(MRL) in the Philippine’s banana exports that alarmed Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare—prompting FPA to step in to address the issue.
The FPA Pesticide Regulatory Policies and implementing Guidelines define MRL as the maximum concentration of a pesticide residue permitted in or on agricultural commodity, or animal feed. It ensures that the health and well-being ofconsumers will not be affected.
On December 3, 2018, concerned authorities convened to discuss and come up with resolutions to ensure that agricultural export products like banana would continue to comply with international food safety standards.
The event was attended by the FPA, Pilipino Banana Growers Exporters Association Inc. (PBGEA), Plant Quarantine Services (PQS) of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and chemical companies. This led to an agreement to ban Fipronil in its use in banana effective immediately on December 5.
The agreement was formalized through FPA’s issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 29, series of 2018, otherwise known as the “Banning of the Use of Fipronil in Banana.”
Registered pesticide manufacturers utilizing the said chemical ingredient have been ordered to amend their labels reflecting the cancellation of its use in banana. They are likewise enjoined to include in their product stewardship program the issue on the misuse that resulted in MRL exceedance. They are also required to prepare an existing chemical inventory of their products.
In ensuring its full implementation, FPA issued Memorandum Circular No. 30, series of 2018, which orders the Authority’s regional units in Regions X, XI, XII, XIII and ARMM, to monitor the immediate retrieval of available stocks in the plantations, ensure registrant’s product label amendment or relabeling indicating that the product is not for banana use, at the donors and dealers level.
The order also requires the involved regional units to conduct appropriate information and educational campaigns. These regions primarily produce majority of the country’s banana exports.