December 9, 2005 -- Tougher environmental standards for wool exports to Europe could prove costly for Australia's wool industry.
After October 2007, European Union (EU) countries will test wool scouring and processing plants for residual pesticide traces and reject wool that is above official tolerance levels.
Martin Holmes from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority says that could force farmers to change the way they use chemicals and lead to extensive wool testing in Australia prior to export.
"Our analysis has shown that at the moment there are residues in Australian wool which violate those EU standards," he said. "Europe is not the only country which scours Australian wool, but other countries will adopt European standards for themselves."
The Australian Wool Industries Secretariat, which represents exporters and processors, says blanket testing is too costly, but random testing and grower declarations in Australia might satisfy the new standards.
Reprinted from ABC Australia