Newpharm clarifies Focus “regulations on grain storage”

While legislative scenarios regarding grain storage are constantly evolving, the cereal supply chain is asking for concrete answers regarding food safety. Newpharm, an Italian leading company in the supply of professional pest control products, gives concrete professional solutions in compliance with current regulations to the cereal market thanks to its know-how acquired in decades of experience.

Erika Saccoccia, head of the Regulatory department of the Newpharm Group, makes sure Newpharm products and solutions are in compliance with the legislation when it comes to pest control treatments both for environments and for stored foodstuff.

Intervention strategies and foodstuff pest control

The fight against foodstuff insects can be carried out with different products and techniques.

Nowadays, in the market, we can find “traditional”, conventional and organic phytosanitary products. Organic agriculture is considerably growing and organic food is available almost everywhere. Raw materials needed for the production of organic food must necessarily be preserved from the serious attack of harmful insects and mites. The foodstuff pest control carried out with organic products involves the administration of authorized active substances which have completely different characteristics from conventional insecticides (ref. Regulation (EC) No. 834/2007 of 28/06/2017 and subsequent modifications and integrations).

Before carrying out any pest control intervention, it is essential to check the regulatory compliance of the phytosanitary products which are intended to be used. Nowadays, besides cryopreservation methods, only two products are allowed in the organic production sector: Pygrain® and Silocosec®.

Environment management: pre-storage

To make sure the phytosanitary treatment is effective, it is essential to carry out some preventive operations such as a general cleaning and the “debiotization” of the storage areas. The word “debiotization” includes all the operations carried out in the storage areas which allow the complete elimination of insects and pests, including their nests and shelters. This delicate and strategic phase is carried out when the storage areas are empty and, for this reason, the pest control activities are facilitated.

The debiotization can take place using phytosanitary products or medical surgical supplies/biocidal products, regularly registered at the Ministry of Health.

If you choose to use the latter category of products, the treated area must be empty and free of any foodstuff even if well covered.

The protection of foodstuff during storage

Direct treatments on stored cereals can take place only and exclusively with plant protection products, available in different formulations and with different mechanisms of action (ingestion, contact, asphyxiation).

In Italy, the active substances authorized on cereals in liquid and solid formulations (powder) are: Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Pirimiphos-methyl, Pyrethrum extract and diatomaceous earth or kieselgur. Except for the Pirimiphos-methyl, which has a triple action, all the other active substances work mainly after their contact with the target pest.

The diatomaceous earth or kieselgur is a siliceous sedimentary rock of organic origin deriving from microscopic algae of the diatom family. The active substance is contained in only one phytosanitary product registered in Italy, the SilicoSec® (Reg. No. 15899 of 19/12/2013). The active substance is obtained thanks to an accurate production process. It is not harmful for humans and is highly effective against target insects. Thanks to the mechanical action and its abrasive properties, insects quickly die from dehydration. The effectiveness of the product does not dissolve over time and therefore remains active for a long period. SilicoSec® is 100% natural with no residues and can be used in conventional and organic agriculture, in stored grains or in storage areas.

These phytosanitary products are regularly registered for the treatment of stored grains and can be applied directly on intact kernels after dedusting. Treatments on cereals take place also when the transport system (augers, redlers and cereal bucket elevators) is working. In fact, when the transport system is taking the grains into the silos or other storage areas, there is no need to close the premises or to stop the production as when using other types of insecticide treatments.

Other minor pest control techniques include the use of microwaves or the rational use of temperatures (mainly cold). The use of carbon dioxide (CO2) as an insecticide is now prohibited as there are no plant protection products or biocides regularly registered in Italy for this purpose.

Once the preservation procedures have been completed, it is essential to respect the waiting period shown on the labels of the phytosanitary products before handling the grains. The lapse of time between the end of the treatment on grains and the possibility of starting their transformation is expressed in days and is in compliance with the maximum residue limits allowed by law, in other words, the maximum residue limits of active substance allowed in foodstuff products intended for human or animal consumption (the maximum residue limits – MRLs – can be consulted under “products” in the European database in the following link:

If waiting periods or the use of non-registered and unauthorized products on foodstuffs are not respected, there will be the seizure of the cereal stocks and perpetrators will face serious commercial and legal problems.

Newpharm represents the main interlocutor of the most important associations and supports storage companies, pest control operators and all those entities which work in the food industry. Newpharm works together with specialized experts who will help in all the key aspects (entomological and regulatory aspects, pest control solutions and the best application systems).

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