Great news for potato producers! 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene (1,4-DMN), a naturally occurring bio-control that enhances dormancy, controls spouting and encourages field-fresh quality in stored potatoes, is scheduled for review and regulatory approval under the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture (FAO)’s Codex Alimentarius.
The review process will take place during 2023, with a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) expected to be adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) as soon as mid-2024.
1,4-DMN is a true dormancy enhancer rather than a sprout suppressant. It mimics naturally occurring potato hormones, triggering the production of potato tubers’ own dormancy enhancing enzymes. Sold by 1,4GROUP and DormFresh as 1,4SIGHT® for processing and tablestock potatoes and 1,4SEED® for seed potatoes, 1,4-DMN is highly effective at managing sprouting and peeping from storage bin close-up right through shipping.
Unlike the conventional standard CIPC, 1,4-DMN has significantly less environmental risk and no worker safety concerns. 1,4SIGHT® and 1,4SEED® also offer important secondary benefits, including decreased moisture loss (shrink) and less bruising.
1,4-DMN is currently approved for application in Canada and the United States under each country’s bio-pesticide registration process. As such, 1,4-DMN does not require an MRL under either the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in Canada or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States.
Since similar approval has not been granted in all countries, obtaining an MRL is critical to full international acceptance of 1,4-DMN treated potatoes and processed products made from treated potatoes.
Codex Alimentarius is a set of international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice designed to ensure the safety, quality and fairness of the international food trade. Among other roles, Codex defines acceptable residue limits for additives and other chemicals in food. Under the World Trade Organization’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement, Codex standards are accepted as standards for international trade of agricultural commodities, food and feedstuff.
Until Codex states a specific MRL for an individual input, many countries approve only the default MRL – the 0.01 parts per million accepted for any chemical used in food or in the production of food – as an import tolerance.
Therefore, despite 1,4-DMN’s proven safety, potatoes treated with 1,4-DMN and processed products produced from those potatoes are at risk of refusal in some countries.
The FAO/World Health Organization’s Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues, which evaluates and proposes Codex MRLs, meets just once per year and debates only six new active ingredients per meeting. 1,4-DMN was added to Codex’s priority list in 2021 and was scheduled for evaluation in 2022. However, COVID-19 delayed the planned evaluation date. 1,4-DMN is now scheduled for evaluation in 2023 and debate at the meeting of September 2023.
A positive move for global agriculture
“We are very pleased that 1,4-DMN should be assigned a Codex MRL by 2024. Many companies will breathe easier knowing that it will soon be much simpler to ship potatoes treated with 1,4-DMN,” says Jeanette VonKrosigk, Global Regulatory Affairs Director at 1,4GROUP.
Establishing a Codex MRL for 1,4-DMN is a positive move for the global agriculture and agri-food industries, says VonKrosigk.
“Whether North America follows Europe and Japan in banning CIPC in the short term or the longer term remains to be seen. However, there’s no question that bio-controls like 1,4-DMN are the future of global agriculture. Bio-controls are critical for agriculture to achieve meaningful steps towards sustainability.”
While most countries base their individual import standards on Codex’s recommendations, certain countries – notably southeast Pacific countries including Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia and South Korea – establish their own tolerances for chemical residues in foods independent from Codex. 1,4GROUP is currently working to establish 1,4-DMN’s import acceptance into these countries.
1,4SIGHT is currently sold in 31 countries and has treated over 33 billion hundredweight of processed and fresh potatoes over the past 18 years.
The importance of acceptable MRLs
“We are proud that 1,4 DMN has improved the health and well-being of millions of people around the world,” says VonKrosigk.
Matt Lantz, Vice President of Global Access for international export development firm, Bryant Christie Inc, says achieving international MRLs is an increasingly important step for the potato industry.
“As more potatoes are going to more countries, ensuring that exports are compliant with import country food standards is critical. Among the most important issues in meeting such standards is obtaining acceptable potato pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs) in the importing country.
“Acceptable MRLs allow potato exports to proceed without concern. [Establishing MRL standards] is a time consuming and expensive process, but to ensure shippers can export potatoes with confidence, these approvals must be obtained.”
For more information or with any questions, feel free to get in touch with 1,4GROUP.
Cover image: Credit 1,4GROUP
Related: Potato sprout management: 1,4SIGHT a ‘safe and sustainable’ alternative to CIPC, says product specialists