April 22, 2024

Vestaron insecticide access granted in second EU country

Italy has become the second EU country to grant farmers emergency access to Vestaron Corp.’s bioinsecticide targeting tomato leafminer.

SPEAR LEP is a peptide-based insecticide that targets lepidopteran insects such as tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta), navel orangeworm, European grapevine moth, codling moth, loopers and caterpillars with minimal risk to beneficials, pollinators or people, according to a news release.

Greece granted emergency access to SPEAR LEP in February.

The insecticide is available for growers in Italy to use on tomatoes from March 28 until July 25, according to the release.

“Farmers in Italy and Greece will now have access to a much-needed new mode of action to help them continue producing the food our growing society requires,” Juan Estupinan, Vestaron’s interim CEO and president, said in the release. “We have submitted applications to the European Commission for full approval in Europe as farmers face universal challenges such as insect resistance to traditional products, the increasing restriction of chemical pesticides and consumer demand for healthy, nutritious food delivered at a reasonable price.”

In studies conducted in Italy and other European countries, SPEAR LEP has demonstrated efficacy against the target pest under both open-field and protected conditions, including in populations that may be resistant to other commonly used insecticides, according to the release.

Italian grower group Società Cooperativa Agricola Aurora petitioned the Italian Ministry of Health for the emergency authorization.

“Having access to effective biocontrols like SPEAR LEP is vital to helping producers reduce pesticide use, supporting profitable production while lowering farming’s impact on the environment,” Giuseppe Buggea, Aurora’s president, said.

SPEAR LEP has been used in the U.S. since 2020 with subsequent approvals in Mexico and Canada. Based on naturally occurring peptides found in spider venom and produced using natural fermentation, SPEAR LEP has a unique mode of action (IRAC group 32) with no known resistance or cross-resistance with other synthetic pesticides, according to the Durham, North Carolina-based company.

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