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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I Keep it Clean and help keep markets open for all?

The quality and reputation of Canadian canola, cereals and pulses is amongst the best in the world, and Canadian growers work hard to produce crops to the highest standard. You can help protect Canada’s reputation as a trusted supplier and access to key export markets by ensuring the crops you grow are market ready.

Your on-farm practices DO make a difference. To avoid unacceptable residue levels in the grain, keep it clean – use only acceptable crop protection products and use them correctly. Follow the Keep it Clean 5 Tips to protect the marketability of your crop and reduce the risk of rejected shipments due to residues that exceed maximum residue limits (MRLs).

What MRL-related challenges do Canadian commodities face?

  • Different standards around the world: More countries are now making their own rules for pesticide residue tolerances, instead of following one internationally recognized standard. And countries don’t make these decisions at the same time. It isn’t unusual for one country to adopt a Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for a certain pesticide-crop combination several years before other major trading partners do.
  • Zero tolerance until a standard is in place: If a country hasn’t yet set an MRL for a certain active ingredient, there are countries that can refuse to accept imports containing any amount of the residue in question. Importing countries test shipments regularly to make sure their standards are met. If a shipment is turned back because of unacceptable residues, it could result in millions of dollars of lost revenue and damage to Canada’s reputation for consistency and quality.
  • Highly sensitive testing equipment: In addition, the potential for detecting residues is increasing. Testing equipment is becoming more sensitive and is being used more frequently as the technology becomes more affordable. New technology can detect levels close to one part per billion, and in some cases parts per trillion. One part per billion is equivalent to about nine canola seeds in a super B truck, while one part per trillion is one second in 32,000 years. These are small numbers but still bigger than zero.

For all of these reasons, Canada’s entire value chain is focusing more attention on meeting the residue tolerances of important global markets.

How is market risk determined?

When considering the market risk of using a pesticide, our value chains look at a combination of factors, such as:

  • The likelihood of a product leaving detectable residues
  • The frequency and quantity of detectable residues
  • Regulatory changes in export markets
  • Industry intelligence on market sensitivities
  • Pest pressures and product use patterns
  • Regional concentration of use

These factors help to determine the likelihood of a problem emerging. When warranted, the Canola Council, Cereals Canada or Pulse Canada will discuss concerns with the company introducing the product and encourage it to consult with other parts of the value chain that will be affected. The Canada Grains Council’s Market Acceptance of Pesticide Use Policy outlines this process.

What is the rest of the industry doing?

The Canola Council of Canada, Cereals Canada and Pulse Canada continuously monitor potential risks in major export markets. We also encourage all companies to follow our guidelines for responsible commercialization of new crop protection products, which means making sure that any market access issues or other potential problems have been addressed before a new product is introduced or before a new use is added to the label.

In addition, we are always working with the Canadian government to encourage other trading nations to adopt more consistent review processes and import rules. In an ideal world, all global trading partners would agree on common standards for agricultural commodities. Progress is being made, but the global regulatory landscape remains complex.

The process of responsible commercialization is voluntary and relies on a strong commitment to open communication and co-operation throughout the value chain. With rare exceptions, co-operation throughout the industry has been very strong.

For more information, contact the Canola Council of CanadaCereals Canada or Pulse Canada.