Pesticides can be used in both conventional and organic production of fresh fruits and vegetables. Pesticides must undergo a rigorous regulatory evaluation process by the Canadian government before being allowed for use. Any pesticide used in Canada, or on a product destined for the Canadian marketplace must be approved by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). The PMRA holds the responsibility for providing safe access to pest management tools, while minimizing risks to human and environmental health.

Under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act, the Agency is responsible for registering pesticides. Any pesticide or product must comply with the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) that is indicated for the individual product or pesticide. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) residue monitoring program provides further assurance of the safety of our supply of fresh produce.

The proper use of pesticides is monitored through federal government evaluation programs which include residue testing. In the CFIA’s National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program 2015/2016 Annual Report (the most recent report available), the overall compliance rate for pesticides in domestic fresh fruits and vegetables was 98.1%. For imported produce, the overall compliance rate for pesticides was 95.07%.

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