(NC) — To be healthy, we need to eat a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Pesticides play an important role in making sure there is enough food for everyone, by protecting food and crops from pests such as insects, weeds and fungal diseases.
While pesticides help protect our food supply, many people are concerned about pesticide residues on the food they eat.
Before any pesticide can be registered in Canada, Health Canada reviews a range of scientific studies to make sure that there are no health or environmental concerns related to its use. This includes determining whether eating residues that are likely to remain in or on food at the time of harvest is acceptable and unlikely to cause a health concern to any group of people, including infants, children, and pregnant women. A maximum residue limit (or MRL) is then established.
Maximum residue limits are set in order to ensure that exposure to pesticide residue presents no concerns for human health. Each MRL is established for a specific pesticide and food type combination, and applies to all food commodities sold in Canada, whether imported or produced locally.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which monitors and enforces residue limits in both domestic and imported foods, reports that compliance rates for MRLs are consistently very high.
There is no evidence to suggest a risk to health from eating conventionally grown produce due to pesticide residues, or that organic foods are safer to consume than conventionally produced food.