USE OF METHYL BROMIDE
Methyl bromide is a fumigant (gas) used against a wide variety of pests including insects, spiders, mites, nematodes, fungi and rodents. It has been in use as a phytosanitary treatment against quarantine pests for a long time. However, methyl bromide for decades has been recognised as an ozone-depleting substance under the Montreal Protocol and control measures to reduce the use of the chemical were included in 1992.
The control measures required developed countries to phase out the production and consumption of methyl bromide by 01 January 2005 while 01 January 2015 was set as the target date for developing countries. Three categories of methyl bromide use are exempted from phase-out under the control measures: use as a chemical feedstock, uses that the Parties to the Montreal Protocol deem ‘critical’ subsequent to complete phase-out and use for quarantine and pre shipment (QPS).
Definition of Quarantine and Pre-Shipment
- Any treatments applied, no later than 21 days before export, to meet:
- The official requirements of the importing country; or
- The existing official requirements of the exporting country –
being the official requirement performed or authorised by a national plant, animal, environmental, health, or stored product authority; but
- Does not include quarantine applications
Quarantine: any treatments to prevent the introduction, establishment and/or spread of quarantine pests (including diseases), or to ensure their official control, where:
- Official control is that performed by, or authorised by, a national plant, animal or environmental protection or health authority.
- Quarantine pests are pests of potential importance to the areas endangered thereby and not yet present there, or present but not widely distributed and being officially controlled.
An important aspect of these definitions is that they both relate to official actions. Contractual or commercial requirements alone are not sufficient reasons to allow exemption from phase-out under the QPS exemption. An example that may fall under quarantine use (official treatment in country of origin) is methyl bromide treatment required by official phytosanitary standards of an importing country against a quarantine pest known to infest a particular commodity.
Treatment of packed commodities subject to infestation by the Khapra beetle (such as rice, spices, or materials packed in straw and/or wooden crates) for shipment from a country where the Khapra beetle is known to be established to a country free from the pest.
The Khapra beetle is a quarantine pest in a number of countries. Typically methyl bromide is specified for its control.
Methyl bromide treatment of logs to control Bark beetles. The logs may be destined for many countries where the insects are not established.
Bark beetles may be a quarantine pest for countries where Fiji may export the logs to.
Methyl bromide fumigation of wooden packaging materials, for example pallets, to meet ISPM 15 requirements for containerized cargo.
Methyl bromide is one of the two treatment options approved under ISPM 15 for the treatment of wooden packaging materials to help control the spread of quarantine pests, such as Asian longhorn beetle.
Official treatment of goods on arrival
Methyl bromide treatment of an imported consignment takes place where a quarantine pest is detected.
Methyl bromide treatment of a container of copra meal from a Pacific island country found to be infested with fire ants on arrival in Fiji.
The fire ant is a quarantine pest for Fiji and methyl bromide is specified as a control measure.
Official treatment within a country
Treatment of a commodity transported within a country from an area where a quarantine pest is present to an area where it is not present or not widely distributed, and under official control.
Methyl bromide treatment of fresh fruit, e.g. citrus, shipped into Western Australia from Queensland as a precaution against Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni), which is a pest established in Queensland, Australia.
Fruit flies are not present in Western Australia and are under official control as a quarantine pest.
Eradication of a quarantine pest from an area
Treatment of an established quarantine pest with a view to control and eventually eradicate from an area or a country.
Methyl bromide treatment of Asian Subterranean Termites in houses and in other structures.
Asian Subterranean Termite is a quarantine pest in Fiji and subject to official control.
Examples that may not fall within the QPS exemption:
Pre-shipment treatments carried out at greater than 21 days prior to export.
Examples of treatments carried out for contractual reasons, not officially required or authorised:
- Domestic furniture infested with borers
- Cosmopolitan pests in grain
Non-QPS uses: methyl bromide has also been used as a general fumigant to control pests in industries like strawberry farming or for grain silos.