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Advice on how to reduce CIPC residue levels with store cleaning

The Potato Industry CIPC Stewardship Group (PICSG) has warned potato growers and buyers against applying sprout suppressant Chlorpropham (CIPC) at 2020 store loading.

The popular active, previously used on over 90 per cent of the circa 3.5 million tonnes of potatoes stored in Britain, had its approval for use withdrawn by the European Commission on 8 January.

The maximum ‘use-up’ period of nine months was set by the EU, with member states able to set their own date within that timeframe.

This means the last possible use-up date is 8 October – during the very early stages of potato store loading in a typical season. This date has now been officially confirmed as the use-up date in the UK.

Dr Mike Storey, chair of the PICSG, said that businesses who have not been monitoring technical messages will be at risk of crops not passing inspection.

This summer’s potato crop is likely to come out of store after the new, as yet unknown, maximum residue levels (MRL) for CIPC come into force. It will pay to start preparing as soon as stores begin to empty.

Store cleaning is a fundamental part of managing a store and will become increasingly important as the industry looks to reduce CIPC residue levels in store.

Not sure where to start? According to AHDB Potatoes, these four simple steps will help reduce CIPC residue levels and keep a clean store overall:

1. Keep it dry

Use a vacuum for removing loose dust, and a stiff brush or chisel to move any more firmly attached deposits*. Washing with water is not recommended.

*treat deposits as you would any other plant protection product, wear appropriate PPE and dispose of waste appropriately.

2. Let it breathe

Let free air move through your store via open louvres and doors, so that any CIPC residue present in the store environment can be released.

3. Catch some rays

Boxes should be left to weather outside to encourage the natural breakdown by the sun’s UV rays of any CIPC present in the timber. Space them out so that exposure to light is maximised while ensuring that it doesn’t cause a Health & Safety hazard.

4. Write it down

Keep a record of when and how you cleaned your store. This evidence will likely prove valuable in demonstrating that the Industry is taking a pro-active approach towards keeping residues down.

Going forward, cleaning will be one of the key pillars of industry-wide efforts towards minimising CIPC residues, and is likely to be one of the conditions imposed for a temporary MRL (tMRL).

Other efforts include the establishment of a store cleaning protocol that will apply to a variety of storage situation, something that industry stakeholders across the value chain and regulators are working closely on.

Information on alternative products is available on the AHDB website’s storage hub. And, to help store managers prepare, AHDB is offering free one-to-one potato store visits via its new Storage Network. The visits are designed to help businesses prepare for life after CIPC.

Store managers in the United Kingdom can sign-up for their visit via the AHDB storage hub or by calling +44 1406 359419.

Source: AHDB Potatoes

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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