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Illegal Insecticide Applications Reported in Wheat

June 8, 2001
Late last week, I learned that the National Grain and Feed Association informed its members that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in cooperation with Illinois Department of Agriculture officials, were investigating reports of illegal applications of an insecticide to wheat. Investigations are occurring in as many as eight states where armyworm infestations have caused injury to wheat, corn, and pasture. The investigations are concentrated primarily on the suspected use of Fury, a synthetic pyrethroid (zeta-cypermethrin), manufactured by FMC Corporation. Fury 1.5EC is a restricted-use insecticide and is labeled for certain insect pests of cabbage, lettuce, pecans, and cotton. In August 2000, FMC Corporation submitted an application for registration of this insecticide for selected insect pests of cereal crops such as wheat. However, this request has not been considered or approved by the EPA. Officials with the EPA and FDA have informed the National Grain and Feed Association that if wheat contains any detectable residues of Fury, the shipment will be considered adulterated. The FDA may seize any wheat that enters interstate commerce that contains illegal residues of this insecticide.

Producers who have illegally treated wheat with Fury are advised to keep their wheat on their farm until it can be tested for residues of Fury. Until wheat is harvested and begins to enter interstate commerce, suspected incidents are being treated as a state issue that requires state action.

The National Grain and Feed Association reported that illegal applications of Fury to wheat may have occurred in eight states. Illegal applications have been confirmed in Arkansas and Mississippi. Separate investigations are occurring in Alabama, southern Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.

If you are aware of any illegal applications of Fury that have been applied to wheat in Illinois, please notify the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois State Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 19281, Springfield, IL 62794-9281. The general information hotline telephone number is (800)273-4763.--Mike Gray

Author: Mike Gray

The Pest Management and Crop Development Bulletin
Executive Editor: Kevin Steffey, Extension Entomologist

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