by Wally Richards


Now after 9 long months we have finally being allowed to import and sell our cold Pressed Neem Oil again.

Why could we not sell it you may ask?

Well our beloved Environment Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that it could be hazardous to Aquatic Life and our Safety Data Sheet and labels did not reflect this.

We were operating on a study from America that proved it was Non Hazardous. See

EPA are very cautious these days, likely because of the cock-up allowing Kiwi fruit pollen from overseas into NZ which devastated our Kiwi fruit growers and cost millions in losses.

Thus erring on the side of caution we had to submit a application for a new hazardous rating which we were assured would be treated under urgency.

It has taken a good nine months to process our application to have a new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and what the label requirements needed to be.

The SDS can be seen on our web site at

Fortunately I have a firm of Technical Compliance people that look after matters of this type and they really went into bat for us to get the matter resolved.

They also looked at the other brands of Neem Oil on the market and found that they also did not comply with the new regulations and informed EPA of this fact.

Time went by and all the other brands were still being sold and when EPA was asked why?

They said they had not had time to look at them. (In my case it was only 19 days from first contact to be off the market?)

Now months later they are apparently starting to check and see if the other Neem Oils need to also put in new applications to met current requirements.

Likely they will disappear if found to need new hazardous applications and new label & SDS amendments.

It was a interesting learning curve in which I found there are some Neem sprays which are not Neem Oil at all.

Luckily they don’t mention Neem Oil on their labels or they would be in breech of the Fair Trading Act..

These ones are actually vegetable oils such as soya with the active ingredient added which is Azadirachtin.

So what is Azadirachtin?

Azadirachtin is the most active component for repelling and killing pests and can be extracted from neem oil.

Neem Oil comes from the seeds or kernels of the Neem Tree.

After the natural neem oil is removed from the seeds, it is treated with alcohol, which causes the azadirachtin and related substances to separate from the neem oil.

Neem oil and azadirachtin aren’t the same, but the two are closely related.

Both come from the neem tree, native to India but now grown in warm climates around the world.

Both substances are effective for repelling and killing insect pests and also interfere with feeding, mating, and egg laying.

Azadirachta indica L. (neem) shows therapeutics role in health management due to rich source of various types of ingredients.

The most important active constituent is azadirachtin and the others are nimbolinin, nimbin, nimbidin, nimbidol, sodium nimbinate, gedunin, salannin, and quercetin.

I have been told that in India, villages use the Neem Tree as the village pharmacy for various health aspects.

Organic neem oil contains an active ingredient called azadirachtin, which acts as a natural pesticide for organic gardening.

Gardeners use neem oil on their house plants and outdoor vegetable gardens as an insecticide, fungicide, and miticide.

I have noted that Neem Oil will turn the leaves of plants affected with powdery mildew back to green instantly.

Also very good for black spot and some rusts.

The fatty acids of Cold Pressed Neem Oil has the smoothing effect on some insect pets.

The taste of Neem Oil is very unpleasant as I found out one time when trying to siphon some out of a drum.

The horrible taste is great as it stops the likes of rabbits and possums from eating plants that have been sprayed with Real Neem Oil.

I originally introduced home gardeners to the benefits of Neem Oil in my weekly garden articles about 25 years ago.

Back then there was some confusion as Cold Pressed Neem Oil is not a poison hence insects pests affected after feeding on plants, that have been sprayed with the oil, dont suddenly drop dead as they would do with chemical posion sprays.

Back then popular sprays such as orthene insecticide would clean up the aphids etc in quick time till they became immune to the poison.

Neem Oil on the other hand being an anti feedent would often take a few days for the pests to starve to death.

The active ingredient, azadirachtin is broken down by UV and will be gone in a few days unless protected longer by adding Raingard to the spray.

It is very import for Neem Oil as with pyrethrum to be in a light proof bottle so that the products have a long shelf life.

If stored in a cool, dry place, neem oil has a shelf life of 1-3 years.

When making an insecticidal spray­and mixing it with water and an emulsifier­neem oil will maintain peak effectiveness for just a few hours but remain viable for up to 3-4 days before its chemical compounds fully break down.

I note that one new Neem Oil brand made recently available has a clear bottle which means that even florescent light will be reducing its effectiveness let alone exposure to sunlight.

To sum up even though Cold Pressed Neem Oil is extracted from Neem Kernels and that the active ingredient can be extracted chemically from the oil it means that there are differences between brands and as a result some may be more effective than others.

I am just happy that ours is back available to help you in your gardens.

Problems ring me at 0800 466464
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