Government Pauses Consultation Process for MRL on Glyphosate

The Organic Council of Ontario (OCO) commends the Government of Canada for  its recently announced decision to pause the process that would see an increase in the maximum residue limits (MRLs)of glyphosate. The proposal would legally increase the amount of the herbicide that is allowed to be found in Canadian food. 

 “We are pleased to see the government is listening to feedback on this important issue. ” states OCO Chair, Rob Wallbridge. “ Glyphosate residues have significant ramifications for Canadian global trade for both conventional and organic products.” 

Organic standards prohibit the use of glyphosate, also known as Roundup, but unintentional contamination of organic products  can result in  a loss of organic status and its associated price premium. The new guidelines could increase Maximum Residue Limits between 2-4 times the current standards.

The proposed MRL increase for peas, chickpeas, dry beans and lentils would have raised allowable levels beyond either the American or globally accepted  limits. OCO strongly supports  the federal government’s decision to reexamine the evidence and process by which proposals are accepted:”With today’s announcement, we are confirming that no decision on any increases to pesticide limits on food will be made before next spring. Meanwhile, we will review the framework underlying the review process of the PMRA and strengthen its capacity to conduct those reviews. Furthermore, research investments announced today will also give farmers greater access to better products and to adopt new and alternative approaches to pest management that reduce risk while addressing the concerns of Canadians.”said Marie-Claude Bibeau Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

“OCO is pleased to see this renewed focus on evidence and the precautionary principle.” said Carolyn Young, Executive Director of the Organic Council of Ontario. “We are especially supportive of new funding for alternative pest management strategies and look forward to seeing these alternatives include organic practices and inputs.” We thank those OCO members who reached out to the Pest Management Regulatory Agency directly to underscore the need for further research before any new MRLs are adopted.  OCO will continue this engagement in future consultations.

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