Thursday, October 28

Health Canada must reassure the public about glyphosate

Glyphosate is a widely used pesticide that increases global food productivity with, in particular, its use associated with genetically modified organisms. Although we recognize that this revolution in agricultural practices is greatly useful and sometimes even essential to feed certain populations, we believe that it would be harmful to increase the allowable limits for glyphosate residues in Canada as proposed by the Regulatory Agency. of Health Canada’s Pest Management (PMRA). Indeed, it was announced on July 19 that the glyphosate residue limits would be increased in certain foods imported or sold.

First of all, this announcement surprises us enormously considering that none of our professional organizations were contacted in anticipation of this announcement and that it considerably affects the health and safety of the population and of ecosystems. In addition, this announcement seems inconsistent with recent efforts by the Canadian agricultural community, which has been trying to make a laborious shift towards sustainable agriculture for nearly 20 years.

The producers here, in collaboration with scientists from several disciplines, are studying different approaches and innovating in their land and herd management practices in order to reduce inputs, with pesticides at the top of the list. Thus, allowing the arrival and sale of products that do not respect these conditions sends a contradictory message to our producers who strive day after day to produce quality food with less pesticide residues. Rather, these efforts to reduce the effects of agricultural production on human health and ecosystems should be maintained and encouraged.

Indeed, the fertile soils of Canada are very intensively exploited and become impoverished over time. It can no longer be demonstrated that the intensive use of pesticides contributes to destroying the biological components of soils, essential to their fertility and long-term maintenance, to the emergence of resistant weed species as well as to degradation of water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Maintaining strict maximum limits in Canada encourages producers to adopt more targeted practices in the management of chemical inputs aimed at limiting pests, plant pathogens and weeds.

Faced with this important consultation of the PMRA, and as a precautionary principle, the Ordre des chimistes du Québec, the Association des microbiologistes Québec and the Association des biologistes du Québec express serious concerns and ask the PMRA to seriously reconsider its decision to increase the maximum residue limits for glyphosate in certain food products. Canada, an important international player in the agricultural sector, must present itself as a leader in environmental and agricultural matters. Farmers, the scientific community and the population must therefore be reassured.

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