Spinosad, a natural insecticide that controls difficult pests in vegetables and topfruit, has been approved by the EU.

Spinosad, the active ingredient in pest-control treatment Tracer, is naturally derived and based on the metabolites produced by the fermentation of soil-borne actinomycete bacteria.

Tracer can be used on brassicas, leeks, onions, apples and pears in the UK. It controls tortrix, codling moths and brassica caterpillars, and is effective against thrips. Makers Dow AgroSciences is also developing additional label uses in the UK, including cabbage root fly on brassicas, as well as thrips on salad onion, strawberry, and lettuce crops.

The company hopes that as a natural product, Tracer’s green credentials will make it attractive to growers, retailers and the public.

The approval will allow spinosad to be considered for full registration by regulatory authorities of individual EU member states, and will allow the registration of new uses in the future.

Dow AgroSciences’ James Knight, marketing manager for Tracer in the UK, said: “This is great news for our customers and for consumers. Tracer offers insect management solutions that combine the broad-spectrum insect control of many synthetic products with the low toxicity and environmental profile of most biological insecticides. This makes Tracer an excellent fit for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Insecticide Resistance Management (IRM) programs.”

Spinosad products have been approved for use in organic agriculture by governmental and non-governmental certification organisations around the world. Interest has been strong within the organic agriculture community because these products deliver a new standard of highly effective insect control.