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August 2021 called turning point for crop protection regulation

Aug. 4, 2021, was a significant day for farmers and people who work in the crop protection industry.

On that day, the federal ministers of health, agriculture and environment came together for a news conference — about seven weeks before the federal election.

They announced a “pause” on proposed increases for maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides. The pause was necessary, they said, because the government was revamping the pesticide review process and creating a scientific panel to make it more “transparent.”

The Aug. 4 announcement was likely in response to a controversial decision by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

In May of 2021, the PMRA proposed increases to glyphosate MRLs on a variety of pulses and other products such as barley bran, wheat germ and rolled oats.

The proposal was connected to an application by Bayer CropScience to have Canada’s MRLs aligned with CODEX MRLs, stemming from a 2019 joint recommendation from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and World Health Organization.

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