Popular Fungicides Under Scrutiny, Possible Ban in the EU — What Does This Mean for Canada?

Several incredibly important and effective crop fungicides, including those that suppress fusarium in cereals, could be banned from use in the European Union soon. While this is an immediate concern for European farmers who could lose access to certain insecticide and fungicide classes, the ramifications for Canada could translate to over a billion dollars in lost sales.

Since 2009, the European Union has been moving towards a new categorization system for groups of active crop protection products. Unlike Canada that uses a risk-based model for pesticide use, the EU is moving towards a regulatory policy based on the use of hazard-based cut-offs. What’s the difference? Under the EU’s system, regulatory policy would be based on the existence of a hazard, irrespective of exposure to the hazard, the risk of the hazard to human health or whether safe uses can be identified. This hazard-based system means that many of the products in the “azole” family and pyrethroid insecticides could be banned from use.

As Pierre Petelle, vice president, chemistry with CropLife Canada, explains in this interview, a ban of these products could impact imports into these countries as existing maximum residue limits of banned products could revert to 0 or essentially 0 (.01 ppm), putting over a billion dollars worth of Canadian shipments at risk of no longer being accepted into the EU.

What’s more, Petelle explains how a hazard-based cut-off model vs. risk-based model works for approving and regulating crop protection products, and what this could mean for pesticides in the EU going forward.

Related: Read the Farmers Weekly article outlining the situation and affected products in the EU here

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