Health Canada has restarted a science-based evaluation to determine acceptable increases to maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides in foods.

MRLs are legal and enforceable limits set for the different combinations of pesticides and foods or crops. As part of the MRL setting process for a pesticide, Health Canada scientists evaluate the toxicity of a pesticide and conduct a risk assessment that looks at the diets of people in Canada, including vulnerable populations.

In 2022, Health Canada published a Notice of Intent, which began consultations on proposed amendments to the Pest Control Products Regulations. The present proposed amendments are a result of the 2022 consultations on the Pest Control Products Act. Following consultation with stakeholders to better understand Canadians’ expectations about the pesticide regulatory review process and its transparency, Health Canada decided to restart the science-based process of evaluating acceptable increases to pesticide residue limits, in line with international guidelines.

The work is part of an initiative to develop a sustainable approach to pesticide management while giving farmers the tools they need to keep providing reliable access to safe and nutritious food.