Maximum Residue Limits for pesticides in Canada


Transcript - Maximum Residue Limits for pesticides in Canada

A video with simple line animation.

In a grocery store, there's a display with various fruits and vegetables. A shopping cart filled with goods and vegetables rolls by.

When shopping for produce, it's good to know that fruits and vegetables are subject to strict limits for pesticide residue.

Maximum residue limits – or MRLs – are set for foods sold in Canada, whether they are grown here or imported from other countries.

An MRL is the highest amount of pesticide residue that may remain on food when a pesticide is used according to the label.

Canada's MRLs are aligned with international standards and are used to make sure pesticides are being used properly.

The words "Internationally recognized standards" appear on screen, next to a globe with a check mark.

MRLs are set well below a level that could cause any harm. Here's how they are set:

Health Canada scientists evaluate each pesticide to ensure it is used in a way that protects people and the environment but still effectively manages pests.

A plate appears on screen with various fruits and vegetables.

They determine the safe amount of pesticide in a treated food that a person could eat daily and what that adds up to over a lifetime. This daily amount has extra safety levels built in to make sure it is at least 100 times lower than the amount that could cause harm. Then they estimate a person's exposure to pesticide treated food considering the wide variety of foods people eat in Canada. A person's exposure to pesticide treated food must be lower than the safe daily amount for Health Canada to approve the proposed MRL. The level of pesticide residues that could be on food must be low enough not to harm you.

For example; a person would have to eat 280 apples every day for their whole life for there to be any health concern related to pesticide residues on apples.

A shopping cart, overfilled with apples, rolls by. There is such an abundance of apples that some roll off the cart.

For more information about MRLs, visit

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