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No Fraud

Tim Frederikson's article [Pesticide Safety Fraud, March] hinges on cases of fraud involving two independent American test laboratories -- Industrial Biotest Laboratory (IBT) and Craven Laboratory -- in 1977 and 1992.

There is little point in going into the 1977 IBT case. It makes for exciting reading, but is only of interest from an historical point of view, as all the studies conducted by that company have long since been repeated to the satisfaction of the USEPA, NZ Pesticides Board and other regulatory authorities.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no agrichemicals on the NZ market which rely for their toxicological clearance on defective studies conducted by IBT. Mr Frederikson alleges there are 117, but doesn't name any. If he has information to substantiate this, he has a public duty to put it before the Pesticides Board. Much more recent, and therefore of potentially greater concern is the 1992 Craven case.

Here Mr Frederikson first omits to tell readers that the Craven fraud was not uncovered by the USEPA but by a group of chemical manufacturers who had contracted the company to generate new data for the agrichemical Maneb. The USEPA, as the regulatory agency, pressed criminal charges.

Second, he mis-states in his overview that 48 pesticides were found to have fraudulent safety data, when his supporting article clearly (and correctly) states that Craven was "potted" for 48 tests involving 16 pesticides.

Thirdly, he states that Europe has reacted more strongly to the Craven revelations than registration authorities here. In fact, they haven't, for the simple reason that European authorities, like their New Zealand counterparts, don't rely solely on American residue (tolerance) trials for registration.

Since Craven was mainly doing residue trials to gain registrations in the United States, the fraud has little or no relevance here. Rest assured, our regulatory authorities do require New Zealand agrichemical companies to provide accurate test data. It is outrageous and absurd to suggest they accept US data "knowing it to be falsified".

The prompt prosecution and conviction of Craven and its senior executives for falsifying residue data demonstrates the integrity of agrichemical manufacturers and regulators.

Bob Moffat, Environmental Affairs Spokesman, Agricultural Chemical and Animal Remedies Manufacturers' Association