Pesticide residues are a concern for the environment, people who handle sheep and wool and for the meat trade. There are even some ‘eco-wool’ markets now looking for low residue wool.
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An introduction to pesticide residues.
Meat and wool residues
Explanation of residues, their impact and their management.
Withholding periods for worm, lice and fly treatments for sheep
Descriptions of the various withholding periods.
Question and answer
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Sheep Rehandling Interval is the period between treatment and when the wool or treated sheep can be safely handled without the need for protective clothing. Some products can pose health risks to those handling the sheep for some time after treatment or to those handling the wool shorn from recently treated sheep. If a wool harvest interval is given on the label, this must be observed to prevent wool residue issues in shorn wool.
Most chemicals used to treat external parasites bind to the wool grease rather than the fibre itself. These chemicals break down and decrease in concentration over time on the sheep.
When shorn wool is processed, scouring removes wool grease and any remaining pesticide residues at the same time, which can result in contaminated scour effluent and lanolin.
Wool Harvest Interval (WHI) is the period between treatment and when wool can be harvested to satisfy Australian environmental requirements. This period ensures that the remaining pesticide residues are at extremely low levels.
Meat Withholding Period (WHP) is the time from chemical application to when an animal may be slaughtered for the domestic market. The WHP is mandatory for domestic slaughter and is always on the label, and with the ESI (below) they assist producers to manage chemical residues in product.
Export Slaughter Interval (ESI) is the time from chemical application to when an animal may be slaughtered for export. The ESI may not be on the label, but is required by any abattoir that may export meat. The ESI can be found in the Products list in LiceBoss Tools or on the APVMA website.
The European Eco-label for Textiles enables consumers to recognize garments that are made from raw wool (i.e. unscoured or ‘greasy’ wool) that meets residue specifications currently deemed acceptable in terms of environmental impact.
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