Avermectin family members are categorised as highly effective but toxic natural products that are used as pharmaceuticals in both humans and animals and for crop protection. Abamectin and ivermectin are the two most commonly used compounds from this family with abamectin the only compound to be used for both crop protection and pharmaceutical purposes. Avermectins are produced by the soil dwelling actinomycetes Streptomyces avermitilis and despite having complex chemical structures, they are manufactured via synthesis in large scales for commercial use. Although the extent of the eco-toxicological effects of avermectins is not well documented, reports of eco-toxicity exist. Avermectins have short half-lives and their residues can be eliminated through different food processing methods. However, avermectins can persist in water, sediment, soil and food products and therefore management practices that reduce the potential risks associated with eco-toxicity of these highly toxic compounds need to be further developed. This manuscript provides a critical review of the eco-toxicological risks and the potential for food contamination associated with avermectin use.