December 6, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Ottawa considered allowing more pesticides on the berries

Ottawa considered allowing more pesticides on the berries

According to the Health Canada proposal, imported and domestically produced berries may contain up to seven times more pesticide and fungicide residues. Experts were consulted Tap It was argued that the federal agency’s public consultation lacked transparency, in addition to counteracting farmers ’efforts to reduce the amount of their pesticides.

Alice Girard-Boss

Alice Girard-Boss

“We do not agree with these requests because it contradicts our policy of reducing pesticide use in Quebec,” said Jennifer Crawford, general manager of the Strawberry Growers and Raspberries Association from Quebec.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency for Health Canada (PMRA) is proposing to allow three times more residues of metalaxyl and sulfoxaflor in wild blueberries. This proposal allows for seven times more traces of metalaxyl in raspberries and blackberries.

In fact, the tolerance threshold for metalaxyl drops to 3 to 10 parts per million (ppm) for wild blueberries and 0.2 to 1.5 ppm for blackberries and raspberries. The maximum residual limit of sulfoxaflor for wild blueberries is reduced from 0.7 to 2.0 ppm.

If the proposals are accepted, tolerable rates in Canada will be less in demand than in the United States.

“It does not really mean that Health Canada is proposing this kind of change. Their primary goal is to prevent and reduce the risks to personal health and the environment.

Harmful products

Metalaxyl, a systemic fungicide, is dispersed by plants and may be present in fruits. “You can’t remove it by washing it with water,” said Louis Honald-Ether, director of the Center for Terre Environment and an associate professor at the National Institute for Scientific Research. Studies show that high doses of metalaxyl may affect the liver of laboratory animals.

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While Canada can tolerate more metalaxyl in the diet, its levels may also be higher in the environment.

Photo by Andre Pichet, archived by the Press

Louis Honald-Ether

It is a pesticide that is persistent and mobile in the environment, so it contaminates groundwater.

Center for Terre Environment Director Louis Honald-Ether about Metalaxyl

Finally, a pesticide called sulfoxafluor works similarly to neonicotinoids, nicknamed “bee-killing” pesticides, lamenting that it is “not good news from an environmental point of view”.

Lack of transparency

People are invited to comment on these new concentrations on the Health Canada site. “There is a lack of transparency and detail provided by Health Canada in such consultations. We provide very synthetic and summary documents and we ask the public to respond,” M. points out.To me Hanalt-Ether.

On the Public Health Agency’s website, we read that “the risks associated with these new uses are acceptable to human health and the environment.” The specialist regrets that there is no trace of Hulu and the calculations that support the argument that the risks to health and the environment are acceptable.

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