A recent decision by the federal government to put the brakes on any maximum residue limit (MRL) reviews until the spring of 2022 has politicized what should be a non-partisan, science-based regulatory process, says Pierre Petelle.

President and CEO of CropLife Canada, Petelle says that it’s somewhat surprising to see the government’s stance and language in the recent announcement, and his organization is concerned about what message this sends to Canada’s international customers that rely on predictable, rules-based trade.

MRLs change all the time and for a number of reasons, says Petelle, including harmonization with Codex or a certain jurisdiction, or when a new crop grouping is formed or changed. It’s a fluid system and most reviews or requests for reviews happen without much fanfare.

But with this pause, the current government appears to be politicizing the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s process.

Petelle explains that MRLs are set as a form of developing a trading standard, and to allow the trade of commodities between countries. MRLs are also a means to test that crop protection products are being used properly. “It’s important to have them, and to review them from time to time,” he says, as they are a gauge to ensure the product is being used appropriately and within the rules.

Singled out in the announcement was glyphosate. That product’s MRL was requested to be reviewed in anticipation of Codex establishing an international level on glyphosate that is higher than Canada’s current level. But curiously, the announcement applies to all MRL reviews, including one of the government’s own requested reviews under the minor use category.

Listen to the full interview with Pierre Petelle of CropLife Canada:

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