JIS News

Story Highlights

  • When the legislative process is completed and the Pesticides (Amendment) Regulation 2004 takes effect, the legislation is expected to provide strong support for the activities of the committee established by the Pesticide Control Authority (PCA).
  • The newly formed committee will monitor the levels of pesticide residue on local foods as well as the environment and its effect on human health.
  • The legislation, which was passed by the both Houses of Parliament, a year ago, seeks to address the use of pesticides by the pest control operator and pesticide applicator, which include farmers.

When the legislative process is completed and the Pesticides (Amendment) Regulation 2004 takes effect, the legislation is expected to provide strong support for the activities of the committee established by the Pesticide Control Authority (PCA).

The newly formed committee will monitor the levels of pesticide residue on local foods as well as the environment and its effect on human health.

The legislation, which was passed by the both Houses of Parliament, a year ago, seeks to address the use of pesticides by the pest control operator and pesticide applicator, which include farmers.

Under the regulations, persons will be able to take action against those in violation of the law, as it outlines in detail, the sanctions to be meted out for several offences.

Speaking at the weekly JIS Think Tank, Hyacinth Chin Sue, Registrar of the PCA said that apart from the current thrust to monitor the use of chemicals and pesticide residue in food and the environment, there was definitely a need to have sanctions in place to take action against those who blatantly flaunted the law despite repeated warnings and complaints.

“We will now be able to take serious action for instance, against persons who are found to lace crops with chemicals. This legislation gives the right to issue a stop order to somebody who is found to be in violation,” the Registrar explained.

“In other words, we will use the legislation to bring corrective action where it is necessary,” Mrs. Chin Sue emphasized.

Expounding further on the potency of the legislation, the Registrar said that prior to the passing of the regulation, it was difficult to charge persons who breached the law. However with the specific violations outlined under the Pesticides (Amendment) Regulation 2004, the PCA along with affected persons could expedite the sanctions through the judicial process.

For example, the legislation now states that if a person uses pesticides in a negligent manner that endangers humans or animals he/she is liable to be fined $35,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five months. This particular clause will be used to take persons to court, she said.

Complaints filed with the PCA or the Consumer Affairs Commission will form the basis of monitoring offenders. “When a complaint is lodged against a pest control operator for example, this is the point we [PCA] come in and investigate the complaint and make an assessment,” Mrs. Chin Sue stated.

Based on the assessment provided by the PCA, persons have the option to sue the pest control operator, who is required to have limited liability insurance to pay for all the damages that are caused to the client as well as property.

“The Consumer Affairs Commission has intervened in quite a few complaints. A lot has come in regarding termite control,” she noted.

The PCA, who has a list of all certified pest control operators, is vigilant when complaints are lodged. “If the PCA has certified a pest operator, it acknowledges that he is competent, however, if we get six complaints from customers about an operator, then eventually we will revoke the certification,” Mrs. Chin Sue said.

The committee formed by the PCA to oversee the issue of pesticide residue will comprise representatives from the government and non-governmental organizations, the medical community, laboratories, people with knowledge of agriculture production techniques, and persons, who have interest in food safety.