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Ottawa (UPI) Jan 10, 2013
Levels of pesticide residue found on some organic produce in Canada strongly indicates synthetic chemicals were used deliberately, a CBC analysis indicated.
A study of two years of testing conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found 8 percent of organic fresh fruit and vegetables would be in the category Health Canada would imply deliberate pesticide use, CBC reported Friday.
Health Canada sets a maximum residue limit for food products, representing the most chemical residue expected to remain on food when a pesticide is used properly.
Health Canada said residue levels with more than 5 percent of that maximum level "are considered to imply the deliberate use of a pesticide."
Miles McEvoy, deputy administrator for the National Organic Program in the United States, told the CBC the U.S. testing protocol is part of an enhanced enforcement plan implemented at the request of organic farmers.
"You're going to want to look again specifically at the pesticide, at the levels, but yes, if you find over 5 percent of the [maximum residue limit], that is a good indication that there was some direct application rather than drift," McEvoy said.
U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations bar produce with pesticide residues greater than 5 percent from being sold with an organic label. The CBC said Canada has no such restrictions.
"The concept there is that organic products shouldn't have residues on them because they're not grown with the use of these synthetic pesticides, but occasionally there may be some residues on a crop from drift," McEvoy said.
In an email to the CBC, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said when residues are found that are higher than 5 percent of the maximum limit, "the CFIA informs the certification body, who are required to follow-up with the operator/producer to determine the source of the contamination."
A violation of the rules could trigger suspensions and cancellations of the operator's license.
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