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Commercial Horticulture > Comm Hort Blog > Posts > Neem Insecticide Recall Updates

Pesticide spray1.JPG(Updated on Nov 30, 2017) In June and July of 2017, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) tested and found pesticide contamination in several popular neem-based organic insecticides. Below are direct links to the recalls on ODA website (see listing under ODA Pesticide Advisories). As a result of this, a stop-sale has been issued for several neem products listed below. As a researcher working on these products for many years, my goal is to provide producers an alert regarding the complex situation and provide some basic recommendations. Ultimately, organic producers and certifying agencies should decide the best course of action. Producers can also contact the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI, see below) for clarification since they are a nation-wide information source for organic products. 

ODA Pesticide Advisories:

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension has also developed a factsheet summarizing the misbranded/adulterated neem products that may also be of help to producers. 

OMRI has also issued an official statement regarding the situation (Nov 15, 2017) and it also explains the review process. Click here to read the full news release from OMRI. 

PBI-Gordon (manufacturer of Azatrol) issued this official response. Please check other company websites for recent updates.    

General recommendations for organic vegetable producers in Alabama:

  • Check with your certifying agency regarding the use of neem products. Neem-based insecticides are available as stand-alone formulations and as premixes. Keep records of all insecticide usage.
  • Alabama IPM recommendations regarding neem have been directed for small caterpillar and sucking insect control in the early season. Producers should know that there are several other organic-approved products available for early-season caterpillar control, namely, Bacillus thuringiensis (e.g., Xentari or DiPel), natural pyrethrum (e.g., PyGanic), and spinosad (e.g., Entrust, Monterey Garden Insect Spray). Never depend exclusively on one organic product – always rotate different insecticides and modes of action.
  • For aphid and whitefly control, the effective products in Alabama IPM test plots included paraffinic oils (Suffoil-X, JMS Stylet Oil), microbial-based insecticide (Grandevo), insecticidal soap (M-Pede), and a fungal bioinsecticide (Mycotrol-O). Those products work very well when used at low pest populations. Complete coverage and repeated applications may be necessary for adequate pest management. Adult insects are typically more difficult to control than nymphs that hide under the leaves.  
  • As a reminder, organic producers and gardeners should utilize other alternative pest management tactics such as trap crops, sanitation, and/or pest exclusion to prevent pest establishment on vegetable crops. Use of organic insecticides should be the last resort as it can be detrimental to natural enemies in some cases. For more information, see Alabama Vegetable IPM videos and publications.

For developing farm-specific insect management options, please contact the author or commercial horticulture regional extension agent in your area.    

Ayanava Majumdar

Extension Entomologist


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