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CGC’s Residue Analysis Shows Canadian Producers Follow Pesticide Instructions (PCN Fall 2014) SEP 25 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Canadian producers of pulses and other grains are good at following label instructions for pesticides, and the Canadian Grain Commission’s numbers from pesticide residue analysis prove it.

“For the most part, we don’t really see anything in grain, which is a good news story,” said Research Scientist Sheryl Tittlemier of the Canadian Grain Commission’s Trace Organic Trace Element Analysis group.

“What it tells us is that producers are using products properly. What it also indicates is that in Canada sometimes there’s not as much need to use some products as there is in other countries where they don’t have a very cold winter to keep insects in line. The bottom line is for producers to use products properly and, judging from most of our results, that seems to be happening.”

The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) has conducted routine monitoring of grains for pesticides approved for use in Canada since the 1960s. Exporters or customers who are buying Canadian grain will often request documentation, called a Statement of Assurance, that Canadian grain will meet their country’s regulations for food safety regarding pesticides. The company might have their own specifications as well. The Statement of Assurance summarizes CGC’s past monitoring results with respect to pesticide residues found on grains.

Samples are taken by CGC inspectors with automatic sampling equipment as ships are being loaded at ports. Shipments to sample are randomly selected, Tittlemier said. The samples are then sent to the CGC headquarters in Winnipeg, and the pesticide analyses are performed in the Grain Research Laboratory.

“We get requests from people asking for these Statements of Assurance for a certain type of bean or a certain grade,” she said. “That’s the type of information that we record that tie back to the pesticide results.”

CGC currently tests for more than 100 pesticides, and must keep on top of any new pesticides as they are registered for use in Canada.

“If producers follow the label instructions and use registered products properly, then there shouldn’t be any issues with residues in a crop exceeding Maximum Residue Limit (MRL),” Tittlemier said. “Different countries have different products registered for use. Something that may be okay in Canada, may not be okay in a different country, so producers have to be aware of where their product can end up.”

Tittlemier also advised producers to take some precautions if they are using treated seed.

“If producers are using pesticide treated seed, they have to clean their equipment properly to make sure that there’s no cross-contamination with treated seed,” she said. “Once they start harvesting or storing, we don’t want treated seed to get mixed in with their harvested clean grain. We also do analyses when inspectors inspect the grain. Treated seed has to be dyed to indicate that it has been treated with a pesticide. The inspectors can pick out these treated seed and we do analyses to see if it is treated seed or if it’s a bacterial infection that could produce a different colour on the grain. We also do analyses on the grain to see if concentrations on the grain would exceed MRLs.”

According to the CGC’s website, the best way to prevent treated seed in deliveries is to:

  • Clean up spills and dispose of left-over treated seed as required by your province or municipality.
  • Take part in seed bag collection programs where available.
  • Consider using dedicated bins for treated seed when possible.
  • Clean all equipment, bins and vehicles thoroughly after seeding and before harvest.
  • Visually inspect equipment and bins for treated seed before harvest, before transferring grain between bins, and before transferring grain to a truck or railcar for delivery

More information about preventing contamination by treated seed is available at

Meanwhile, there was an update regarding use of saflufenacil as a harvest management tool (e.g. HEAT) since the Pre-Harvest Timing chart was published in the Summer edition of Pulse Crop News. EU saflufenacil MRLs for peas and dry beans have now been published and will be in force prior to harvest.

The updated chart on the APG website now states that for the European Union (EU) market: “No marketing issues associated with saflufenacil residues for peas and beans, as MRLs that will allow for pre-harvest use for peas and beans were published in early July 2014 and will be in force prior to this year’s harvest (lentils will not have an MRL in place for the 2014 crop, and the product is not registered on chickpeas). Follow label directions to minimize residues and maintain levels below the MRL.”

Check with your dealer or exporter on MRLs and continue to check the Alberta Pulse Growers website for up-to-date information.