Ground set for potential quinclorac approval

An influential United Nations commission is getting close to adopting maximum residue limits for a chemical used for controlling pesky cleavers.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is expected to officially adopt the recommendations of its pesticides residues committee at its July 2018 meeting.

The recommendations include establishing a maximum residue limit for quinclorac in canola.

The Canola Council of Canada welcomed Codex’s decision to advance the proposed MRLs for adoption but warned growers that Canadian exporters and crushers will not accept canola treated with quinclorac until the report is formally adopted in July.

The council advised growers to consult with their grain buyer before applying quinclorac to their canola crop in 2018.

“Ensuring that exported canola meets the requirements of our foreign markets, including with respect to pesticide residues, is of utmost importance to the value chain,” council president Jim Everson said in a news release.

“We look forward to the formal adoption of the MRL this summer.”

China has no MRL for quinclorac and a zero-tolerance policy for imported canola found to contain any residue of the chemical.

When China doesn’t have an MRL for a chemical it defers to Codex, which is why exporters don’t want to accept quinclorac-treated canola until the MRL is approved.

Great Northern Growers has been selling a quinclorac-based herbicide called Clever for years, which put it at odds with the canola council and the exporters and crushers it represents.

Sean Cooper, GNG’s manager of corporate development, is happy there is finally some progress on getting MRLs established for a product some farmers desperately need.

“It’s very positive that everybody is recognizing that this will be adopted at that July meeting,” he said.

Cooper believes exporters and crushers are being overly cautious because based on history Codex rubber-stamps reports from its pesticide residues committee.

He believes that cautious approach will prevent some farmers from buying the product in 2018.

“It’s unfortunate that farmers are pushed back another year and made slightly less competitive on the world scene, but that seems to be the way it goes in Canada,” said Cooper.

He said growers have been able to find markets for their canola despite signing declarations saying they treated it with quinclorac.

Some of it goes to the United States where there are MRLs in place but some of it is being sold to the very exporters and crushers who claim they aren’t willing to accept the product.

Clever isn’t the only quinclorac-based product. BASF makes Facet L, a liquid formulation of quinclorac, but the company has said in the past it will not make it available for sale for use on canola until MRLs are in place.

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