12 July, 2021
Dear Organic Supporter,
Health Canada Wants to Increase Glyphosate in Food (yes in organic food too!).
UPDATE (August 5, 2021):
|After recently extending the consultation period due to the “level of interest and number of comments received to date, in addition to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic”, the Government of Canada just announced they will pause the decision on Glyphosate as it strengthens the capacity and transparency of review process for pesticides.
…”today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that the Government of Canada is putting a pause on proposed increases to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), including for glyphosate. As a result, there will be no increases to MRLs until at least spring 2022.The Ministers also announced the Government of Canada will begin consulting on specific provisions of the Pest Control Products Act (2002) to consider, among other elements, ways to balance how pesticide review processes are initiated in Canada and increase transparency.”
The organic community spoke loudly and passionately on this issue. Thanks to all who submitted comments as part of the consultation!
While this is definitely encouraging news, this issue is far from over. The Canada Organic Trade Association published a media release in response to this announcement.
Organics response to Health Canada postponement of pesticide increases in our food
August 5, 2021 (Ottawa) — The Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) is pleased, yet cautious, that the Health Canada is postponing the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s consultation proposing to increase pesticides in our food supply.
The government of Canada issued a statement from Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that the Government of Canada is putting a pause on proposed increases to Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs), including for glyphosate. As a result, there will be no increases to MRLs until at least spring 2022. As this is simply a pause due to election timing, it is still of grave concern to the organic sector that ultimately the MRLs of pesticides will increase eventually. >>READ FULL PRESS RELEASE
We continue to encourage individuals to send in your comments to the PMRA (please also send a copy to your MP & SaskOrganics)! To find out how to submit your comments visit our website.
To keep the momentum going, the Canada Organic Trade Association, SaskOrganics, Prevent Cancer Now and Safe Food Matters are partnering to deliver a webinar on August 31, 2021 at 12noon CST (SK Time). It is a free information session for Canadian stakeholders on Health Canada’s move to increase of glyphosate (and many other pesticides) in our food, and the dramatic shift and promises made by the government.
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is proposing to increase the amount of glyphosate (e.g., Roundup®) permitted in Canadian food, as outilined in the Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL2021-10, Glyphosate. Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) may be doubled, tripled or almost quadrupled for oats and bran, lentils, peas and 25 types of beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans and pinto beans, as well as nuts (almonds, pecans and walnuts, mostly coming from the US).
|| Current MRL (ppm)
|| Proposed MRL (ppm)
| Oats and bran
Non-organic farmers are using more glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). This amounts to regulation of the status quo.
Why should the organic industry care?
Organic standards prohibit the use of glyphosate yet it is persistent in the air due to non-organic farmers prolific use of glyphosate in North America. Unintentional contamination is becoming more and more problematic and is addressed under the following protocol to acknowledge that contamination is possible. As the testing protocol for organic products is based on 5% of the MRL, the proposed increase to the national MRLs for the above products means that organic products will have an increased allowance of glyphosate permitted. This is a move in the wrong direction allowing more contamination in organic products and allowing more prolific use of glyphosate into our food supply as well as affecting soil health and pollinators.
Whose food will be most affected?
- Canadian children. Glyphosate in childrens’ cereals (in oats and bran) are already at significant levels.
- Organic consumers purchasing organic food to avoid pesticides for health or ethical reasons.
- Vegetarians, vegans and everyone who gains protein from non-organically grown legumes and nuts are at risk of consuming more glyphosate.
SaskOrganics sent a letter on July 12th. You can read our response here. The information outlined in the SaskOrganics Letter or this fact sheet will provide you with information you can use as a basis for your submission.
Tell the PMRA what you think of PMRL2021-10.
Email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment online, on “Proposed measures” for PMRL2021-10.
Feel free to CC the following in your responses!
LET’S KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING!
Please SHARE/FORWARD your comments to elected officials, and push them for a response:
– The Minister of Health, Patty Hadju at: Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca
– The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson: Jonathan.Wilkinson@parl.gc.ca
– The Minister of Agriculture and Agr-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau: at Marie-Claude.Bibeau@parl.gc.ca
– Your MP, with Contact Details here: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en
Comments should have a scientific basis and reference the content of PMRL2021-10.
Thank you for your time and participation in this important effort.