MRL for quinclorac on canola in the works

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residue is meeting this month in China but the review usually takes two years

There could be a solution on the horizon for the lingering impasse surrounding quinclorac-based herbicides.

Quinclorac is the active ingredient in Clever, a herbicide marketed by Great Northern Growers to control cleavers.

Grain companies, crushers and the Canola Council of Canada have advised growers not to apply the product to their canola fields because China has not established a maximum residue limit for the herbicide.

Countries that don’t have an MRL in place often turn to Codex Alimentarius, a United Nations body, for guidance. However, Codex does not have an MRL for using quinclorac on canola, either.

That may be about to change. The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues is meeting in Chongqing, China, starting April 25.

Brian Innes, vice-president of government relations with the canola council, said it has been lobbying the Canadian government to push for the establishment of an MRL for quinclorac on canola at that meeting.

“It was supposed to be established last year, but there was some problems with the dossier,” he said.

The Codex review process typically takes around two years, so it would likely be 2018 before an MRL is in place if quinclorac makes it onto the meeting’s agenda.

Great Northern Growers continues to sell Clever despite the lack of an MRL in China, but other companies are holding off on commercialization.

BASF said it will likely be 2018 before it makes its Facet L herbicide available to Canadian growers.

“While we know Facet L is a needed technology for canola growers in Western Canada, we also know that we need to work with the canola council, exporters and growers to ensure we can bring this new technology for canola forward without jeopardizing the marketability of Canada’s canola success story on the world stage,” said Chris Vander Kant, BASF’s marketing manager for Facet L.

“And that’s why establishing import tolerances in necessary Canadian export markets prior to launching a new product is imperative to BASF.”

Sean Cooper, director of corporate development with Great Northern Growers, said he finds that statement odd, considering BASF sells other products such as Ares, Heat and Odyssey that have no established MRLs in China.

“If that’s the way you feel, then stop selling those other products,” he said.

Vander Kant said the situation is more complicated than Cooper is suggesting. China defers to Codex when it doesn’t have an MRL in place, and there are MRLs at Codex for most of BASF’s products.

“We make a point of making sure we have the necessary MRLs for all the major export markets,” he said.

BASF has been working on commercializing quinclorac in canola for the past 10 years. The company has conducted trials to establish the toxicology profile for canola, performed residue trials and submitted the dossier to importing countries and Codex so they can review the data and establish MRLs.

“BASF is the only manufacturer that has proactively made these investments to support the launch of this new innovation,” said Vander Kant.

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