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Alastair

Is Oxalic Acid Legal in NZ?

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Everybody is doing it, but is it actually legal, or, is the law just turning a blind eye?

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i can't find the list at the mo.

i know they registered a whole lot of mite treatments including various organic acids in the early days.

there was a list of it all somewhere..........

 

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This document was way more difficult to find than I thought.

 

this is the list of allowed MRLs for NZ food products as set by MPI.  If you go through the first list and look for flumethrin (bayvarol) you’ll see an MRL set for honey.

 

if you go to the end of the document there is a list of compounds exempt from MRLs when used as veterinary medicines.  OA is on that list “when used for varroa mite control in honeybees”.

 

thats good enough for me 

 

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/19550/send

 

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What about the glycerine?

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Good question

 

you could argue it is a carrier and not an active ingredient.  Vet medicines contain all sorts of carriers, suspension agents, emulsifiers, preservatives etc for which there are no MRL set (as they are not the “active” compound).

Edited by Pinnacle
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2 hours ago, Alastair said:

Everybody is doing it, but is it actually legal, or, is the law just turning a blind eye?

 

@Philbee looked into the legality of it at one stage, and set out the rules around private use.  

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15 minutes ago, Pinnacle said:

Good question

 

you could argue it is a carrier and not an active ingredient.  Vet medicines contain all sorts of carriers, suspension agents, emulsifiers, preservatives etc for which there are no MRL set (as they are not the “active” compound).

Just like McDonalds ?

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Its legal because there is an exemption built into the Animal remedies rules for Beekeepers.
However there is a list of prohibited ingredient and the Beekeeper is also responsible for ensuring there are no harmful and or excessive residues left in the Honey.

Edited by Philbee

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@Philbee if that’s the case, can you point us to a link or the relevant decision by mpi? I’ve tried searching and haven’t found anything?

 

@Dennis Crowley I don’t suppose APINZ have some official documentation on this?

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1 minute ago, Pinnacle said:

@Philbee if that’s the case, can you point us to a link or the relevant decision by mpi? I’ve tried searching and haven’t found anything?

 

@Dennis Crowley I don’t suppose APINZ have some official documentation on this?

The rules are posted here somewhere

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5 minutes ago, Pinnacle said:

@Philbee if that’s the case, can you point us to a link or the relevant decision by mpi? I’ve tried searching and haven’t found anything?

 

@Dennis Crowley I don’t suppose APINZ have some official documentation on this?

 

No not on this, check this site as Philbee has suggested, the trouble with people trying to come up with new ways or ingredients to use is that until some official asks about it or its use there is often not enough paperwork and all is ok -until its not. 

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26 minutes ago, Philbee said:

The rules are posted here somewhere

Yeah that’s the problem I struggle to find stuff that specific by searching this site.

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32 minutes ago, Philbee said:

The rules are posted here somewhere

Yeah that’s the problem I struggle to find stuff that specific by searching this site.

 

@ApiNZ Science & Research Can you guys shed any light on this? You posted last year looking for list of OA suppliers so you could pursue this with MPI - are you able to give a progress report? Thanks

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I raised the question of legality with  apiculture New Zealand, New Zealand beekeeping and MPI many months ago. MPI initially told me that it was not legal and then changed their mind which does not inspire much confidence. My initial enquiry to MPI was over the legality of glycerin but they have never  replied to me on that one. Oxalic acid is legal but like all things these days its legality depends on MPI's interpretation of the law. Given the number of people that have been using strips for some time there doesn't seem to be much doubt that it is an efficacious treatment but what we need is some rigourous scientific trials to show what residue levels these treatments cause. You have to remember that whether it's harmless or not still doesn't mean  you will be allowed to use it or that importing countries will accept it. Common sense does not necessarily apply and  you have no Monsanto pushing this product from behind.

My interpretation of what MPI told me and it is only my interpretation is that you can mix it and use Oxalic yourself but you have to also ensure that residues are within accepted levels but no one knows what those levels are. As for glycerin I hope either apiculture New Zealand or New Zealand beekeeping has been able to get an answer out of MPI because I can't.

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John you must realize that this OA thing has come to the fore very rapidly and Randy Oliver has been working hard to get all the relevant data to the FDA.
There are some gaps in the publicly available knowledge but from what Ive seen and been told, its all good and will likely become the a significant tool going forward.
Anecdotally it appears that 40% - Saturated Solutions of  OA are favored 

Edited by Philbee

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2 hours ago, Philbee said:

John you must realize that this OA thing has come to the fore very rapidly and Randy Oliver has been working hard to get all the relevant data to the FDA.
There are some gaps in the publicly available knowledge but from what Ive seen and been told, its all good and will likely become the a significant tool going forward.
Anecdotally it appears that 40% - Saturated Solutions of  OA are favored 

Phil  you must realise that just because everything you say is true doesn't mean commonsense will prevail

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20 minutes ago, john berry said:

Phil  you must realize that just because everything you say is true doesn't mean commonsense will prevail

All I can say to that is common sense has to prevail because from what Im being told by many Beeks is we have more or less lost one of the Synthetics

One more fact
If OA in Staples was the same cost as the synthetic concerned, the industry would still swing to the OA.
Its far more forgiving of random placement in the Hive.
This has become apparent .

Edited by Philbee

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Another Fact

There are a variety of OA/GL/Cellulose Staple/ Strips out there and from credible information received from studies done,
I is highly unlikely that the best of the others will come close to the efficacy of the humble Paper Tape Staple.

Mites killed for Oxalic used, the Staple reins supreme and you can take that to the bank

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23 hours ago, Pinnacle said:

 

@ApiNZ Science & Research Can you guys shed any light on this? You posted last year looking for list of OA suppliers so you could pursue this with MPI - are you able to give a progress report? Thanks

 

The expert in our group is @Don Mac on these. I believe that only oxalic dribble is available under the ACVM (ie vapourisation is not) but the act allows 'own use' of these products.

However what goes on the harvest declaration, by way of varroa treatments administered?

As varroa is the number 1 issue rated by beekeepers, the group is keen to help progress this - hence Don's chemical and registration expertise [JM]

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On 12/01/2019 at 1:30 PM, Pinnacle said:

This document was way more difficult to find than I thought.

 

this is the list of allowed MRLs for NZ food products as set by MPI.  If you go through the first list and look for flumethrin (bayvarol) you’ll see an MRL set for honey.

 

if you go to the end of the document there is a list of compounds exempt from MRLs when used as veterinary medicines.  OA is on that list “when used for varroa mite control in honeybees”.

 

thats good enough for me 

 

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/19550/send

 

 

OA has only recently been added to this list - as in . . .a month ago ! So yes, game on for dribble, vaporisation . . and staples. Thymol also on the list [JM]

Edited by ApiNZ Science & Research
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Guys, the following is a summary of where you folk are today;

1) MRLs. Oxalic acid and Formic Acid both have an MRL (Maximum Residue Levels) exemption when used as an veterinary medicine to control varroa mites in beehives.

This has been issued under sections 383(8)(a) and 405 of the Food Act 2014, recently updated on 5th December 2018.

PLEASE NOTE  LACTIC ACID DOES NOT HAVE ANY MRL EXEMPTION TO DATE so should not be used on beehives.

The MRL exemption applies only to bee hive products sold in NZ, it does not apply to exports of honey. If your honey is exported it has to apply with the MRLs applied by the importing country. 

2) GRAS. Glycerine (food Grade) is on the MPI GRAS Register. GRAS - Generally Recognised As Safe. 

This is authorised under the ACVM(Exemptions and Prohibited Susbstances) Regulations 2011, which you should consult to ensure your product is exempt from registration.

You are legally required to confirm  that any additive in your product, animal feed or pet food is 'generally recognised as safe' (GRAS). Always use "Food Grade" glycerine.

https://www.mpi.govt.nz/processing/agricultural-compounds-and-vet-medicines/acvm-registers-and-lists/#sts=ACVM substances generally recognised as safe (GRAS)

3) Own Use.  It is legal to mix and make your own veterinary medicine for the control of varroa in your own hives.

The exemption is in the ACVM (Exemptions and Prohibited Substances) Regulations Schedule 2 Part A, 2..  Reccommended reference is The Beekeeper July 2018 edition.

Also refer to MPI Notice 794 Agricultural Compounds Exempt from Registration Requirements for conditions of exemption.  www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/21653

 

You have a legal responsibility to under take the following minimum steps if making your own product. Refer to MPI Notice 794 for the rest of the requirments.

a) You cannot sell the product to anyone, even if you mixed an extra bucket of strips.

b) You should be very careful promoting it - advertising is banned. Discussing on a website could be considered as promotion - MPI have not made web communications exempt from promotion to date - they are keeping their powder dry. Web promotion and discussion is a can of worms.

Randy Oliver's website can be discussed as he outside the reach of any NZ jurisdiction.

Some of this forum's members I believe have had conflicting communications with MPI about their comments.

c) You should have documented all batches with the amounts mixed, the date of mixing and the standards of product used and the hives applied to. Everything should be traceable. 

d) When purchasing raw materials always insist you supplier supplies a Techinical Specification (prior to purchase) and a Certificate of Analysis (CoA)  for the identified batch you have purchased and have had delivered. Always keep this information with your batch documentation which you are required to hold for 5 years! 

Reputable suppliers should have not problem meeting this minimum standard - go elsewhere if they cannot. 

Low price product is not worth the future problems you may have. 

Note your standard of manufacturing is measured exactly against that complied with by a commercial manufacturer. 

e) Adverse Events.  If you have 'stuff up';  the varroa did not die; you overdosed and killed the hive; or the person handling the product had a bad news event; or etc etc 

You are legally required to report this event to MPI as an adverse reaction https://www.mpi.govt.nz/processing/agricultural-compounds-and-vet-medicines/adverse-events-with-acvms/  .

Adverse Event Reporting is required for exempt non registered products. An MPI investigation may require a review of your documentation trail. 

If you or a worker has a 'bad news event' handling your veterinary medicine you have made you must report this to WorkSafe (you are working with a hazardous substance).

This is a legal requirement of the Health & Safety At Work Act 2015.   https://worksafe.govt.nz/notify-worksafe/incident/

4) Harvest Declaration - you must complete a Harvest Declaration for Bee Products if your product is intended to be exported to support the fitness for purpose and traceability of bee products intended for human consumption. That means you must declare the use of the organic acid used.

Note some large buyers for the NZ market may require a signed harvest declaration. In addition some large overseas corporate buyers may require a copy of the hive treatment diary in addition to residue testing prior to purchase. This is very common today in the NZ Fruit export industry. You must declare on the harvest declaration the use of own mixed varroa treatments. If worried always check with your honey buyer their specific requirements.  

5) Other options. To date MPI has registered one containing formic acid MAQS+ and one product containing oxalic acid - Api Bioxal.

If in doubt or not sure about own mixing and own use, see you beekeeping supplier and purchase one of these products.

 

 

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Thanks @Don Mac for all the clarification . 

 

As @john berry has eluded to previously , the use of OA and glycerine staples , and their promotion , is not a simple case of yes it’s legal or no it’s not . 

 

On one hand we have to be abundantly clear we are producing safe food , and on the other , mites need controlling as synthetics become less useful . One could argue that treating with synthetics and having residual surviving mites is an Adverse Event that needs reporting . It’s not really good enough to chuck chemicals into a hive for a poor or nil result . 

 

My feeling is the experiment that @Philbee has perused with respect to mite anhialation should probably get the testing and approval of a mainstream product about now . 

 

Is there any lab in NZ testing for oxalic residue in export honey and if so , does anyone know of any failing the test ? 

Edited by M4tt
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I have reported bayvarol as having failed but my test results were basically declared invalid as genetic testing on the mites said they were still vulnerable to it. It's a pity someone didn't tell the mites that. If a synthetic does fail then the manufacturer is required to inform MPI of this fact.

And like I said the answer to whether you can use oxalic strips or not is maybe which is not a good answer. Think about what happens if you sell some honey to a buyer who then makes up an order and sips it overseas only to have it rejected.

MPI must be aware that  current synthetics are failing and there is an urgent need for a fully legal Safe and effectivereplacements and oxalic strips seem to fit the bill  so why aren't they doing something.

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1 hour ago, M4tt said:

Thanks @Don Mac for all the clarification . 

 

As @john berry has eluded to previously , the use of OA and glycerine staples , and their promotion , is not a simple case of yes it’s legal or no it’s not . 

 

On one hand we have to be abundantly clear we are producing safe food , and on the other , mites need controlling as synthetics become less useful . One could argue that treating with synthetics and having residual surviving mites is an Adverse Event that needs reporting . It’s not really good enough to chuck chemicals into a hive for a poor or nil result . 

 

My feeling is the experiment that @Philbee has perused with respect to mite anhialation should probably get the testing and approval of a mainstream product about now . 

 

Is there any lab in NZ testing for oxalic residue in export honey and if so , does anyone know of any failing the test ? 

 

Hi Matt

You are correct - yes it is is legal and the rest of its use is very grey.....

 

All registered mite treatments (listed in the July Beekeeper article) are subject to the same requirement to report Adverse Events as are non registered products.

Beekeepers need to report to MPI any use of a product that does not perform to expected standards.....but many are slack about this.

So MPI has not a clue of resistance developing. And Beekeepers have no right to complain unless they participate in the process.

 

@Philbee should be conducting replicated field trials with his formulation and start looking at registering a product. Okay it is costly, but he needs to do this if he wants a return on his investment to date. I understand the idea of using card staples soaked with oxalic acid originated in the Argentine, so it may not be possible for him to claim this a unique patentable discovery and he maybe infringing their proprietary data......he will want to check that thoroughly. Patent disputes transfer an honest blokes money to lawyers very rapidly!

 

I am not aware of any lab offering oxalic testing, but I do not expect it to be very difficult. It may only require a few requests to be put on their multi residue testing list.

I note Bohringer offer an oxalic acid test kit.

Sigma Aldrich now MERCK offer a 100 colorimetric oxalate tests suitable for honey - Oxalic Acid Colorimetric Assay Kit. So you could do the test yourself!

https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/product/sigma/mak179?lang=en&region=NZ

 

There have been alot of papers written about testing of oxalic residues.......no preference expressed but the process is readily available.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242403759_Determination_of_residues_in_honey_after_treatments_with_formic_and_oxalic_acid_under_field_conditions

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/eea2/566024bdc5602b2be61708acda659d4e9751.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225777780_Investigations_on_the_oxalic_acid_content_of_honey_from_oxalic_acid_treated_and_untreated_bee_colonies

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41 minutes ago, Don Mac said:

@Philbee should be conducting replicated field trials with his formulation and start looking at registering a product. Okay it is costly, but he needs to do this if he wants a return on his investment to date. I understand the idea of using card staples soaked with oxalic acid originated in the Argentine, so it may not be possible for him to claim this a unique patentable discovery and he maybe infringing their proprietary data......he will want to check that thoroughly. Patent disputes transfer an honest blokes money to lawyers very rapidly!

 

Done

The only patent that come close to the Paper Tape Staple was registered in most countries except NZ

The Edge protected Staple is half way through the Patent process and IPONZ have agreed to the Claims in this regard.

I will pursue full registration ASAP and the cost is actually small fry as the industry has already been informed that the Staple will always be cheap but to expect the cost of compliance to be added on.
This could be 20 cents per staple 

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