A successful application by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) for emergency authorisation (EA) for the use of sprout suppressant 1,4 dimethylnaphthalene (DMN) will help ease some of the storage challenges in the processing sector.
DMN has been approved for use on a limited number of varieties nominated by member companies of the Potato Processors Association (PPA) and will include crisping and some French fry varieties.
The industry previously used chlorpropham (CIPC), but non-renewal of its licence has made long-term storage processing potatoes at ambient temperatures almost impossible.
One condition of the EA is that potatoes may only be supplied to factories where the waste will be segregated and treated potatoes may not be fed to livestock.
An original application for emergency approval of DMN was made in the summer, and was planned to cover 500,000 tonnes of potatoes. This was turned down because of the large quantity involved. The second application had to be very precise, defining a quota from determined varieties.
AHDB Head of Crop Storage Research Adrian Cunnington said: “Without access to DMN for the final three months of storage, the crisping sector would have had to resort to bringing crops in from overseas to fulfil the storage-gap. We estimate this would have cost c. £20million and left British growers without a market for their crops.
“Gaining this EA has been a long and complex process, especially when you include our original application made in the summer that would have covered over 500,000 tonnes of potatoes – but we are glad to have got it over the line in the nick of time.
“AHDB applies for 70% of the emergency approvals in the potato and horticulture sectors, and has robust research programmes to show that other products do not work in certain situations.”
An application for full UK approval of 1,4 Sight, the product containing DMN, has been submitted to CRD by manufacturer DormFresh and is currently under consideration.
It is currently authorised for use in nine European countries.
“Once fully approved, we hope that 1,4 Sight will become more widely available for the whole industry to use, and also that waste segregation will not be necessary.”