Stewardship

Modern Technology

Modern Technology image – farmer checks seeding equipment

Food grown using modern agricultural technology is safe and healthy.

We know that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables is good for your health – whether grown using modern agricultural technology or by other farming methods.

In fact, scientific studies have shown there is no difference in the nutritional benefits of food grown using today’s agricultural technology or through organic production.

Pesticides

Pesticides must be thoroughly tested and approved by Health Canada before they can be used on food grown or imported into Canada.

Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is responsible for registering pesticide products in Canada after a stringent, evaluation that ensures any risks are acceptable. Pesticides are regulated in Canada using science-based evaluation to ensure they pose minimal risk to human health and the environment.

“Food producers help keep food safe by using and improving on good agricultural and pest management practices. One key practice is to follow pesticide label directions, because they give instructions for the safe and proper use of pesticides. This helps keep residues within the limits, helping ensure a safe food supply. Food producers also participate in a variety of on-farm programs to help put in place effective food safety procedures in their day-to-day operations.” Credit: Health Canada

In addition, products must be shown to have value in pest management, efficacy against target pests, and no adverse side effects to the environment or host plants.

Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)

In Canada, pesticide products are registered using the lowest dose required to provide the pest control benefit. Field trials are used to establish application rates and frequency, as well as product safety.

In addition, harvested food from these trials is removed and tested for the presence of pesticides. This information supports the establishment of MRLs, which allows agricultural commodities to be traded and helps detect any pesticide misuse.

Three terms are included on the pesticide product label to explain how the farmer, using the pesticide, meets the MRLs.

  • Pre-harvest interval (i.e. the period between the last pesticide application and the harvesting of the crop)
  • Application timing
  • Application rate or use rate

The pre-harvest interval (PHI) interval, application timing and use rate are set based on field research conducted at both the maximum use rate and number of applications. Research is required before product registration, as each PHI is specific to the pesticide, crop, and the intended use pattern.

Biotechnology

Crops derived from biotechnology have been cultivated for more than fifteen years and consumed by billions of people worldwide, including here in Canada, without a single substantiated health issue.

Genetically Modified (GM) food and feed products are the most extensively tested and regulated in the entire food sector.

Testing by independent public authorities and scientists throughout the world, including national and international food standards bodies, continues to demonstrate that approved GM plants are just as safe as conventional varieties.

Biotechnology has the potential to make plants even healthier and/or make growing them more convenient and efficient

Did you know?
  • Regulatory agencies around the world, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, as well as the Royal Societies of London and Canada have all endorsed the safety of GM crops.
  • Over 3,200 renowned scientists worldwide have signed a declaration in support of agricultural biotechnology and its safety to humans, animals, and the environment.

In Canada, two federal agencies are responsible for regulating products of plant biotechnology: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada.

For over two decades, both organizations have been assessing crops developed using biotechnology for food, feed, and environmental safety. Results from these assessments have consistently demonstrated that these crops are safe to be grown in our environment, while food and feed derived from these crops is safe for humans and livestock.