Safety of Pesticides

Are foods sprayed with pesticides safe to eat?

Canada’s strict regulatory system ensures the pesticides that protect crops from diseases, insects and weeds are safe and help our farmers produce healthy food in a sustainable manner.

Why are pesticides used?

Pesticides are used in Canada to help protect the fruits, vegetables and grains we eat from pests such as insects, weeds and fungal diseases. Fungicides ward off diseases that could otherwise cause plants to rot, insecticides protect against damaging insects, while herbicides defend against aggressive weeds that compete with crops for space, water, nutrients and sunlight.

Pesticides help our growers produce more food and reduce food waste. In fact, by using pesticides, Canadian growers are able to produce 83 per cent more vegetables like carrots, peppers and potatoes and 72 per cent more fruit.

Farmer and Counsel in a Soy Bean Field

Are pesticides safe?

In Canada we have a strict regulatory system that ensures our food is safe and our environment protected no matter what technologies or practices are used to grow crops.

Yes, pesticides are safe when used according to label instructions. Before approving a pesticide, Health Canada must reveiew the scientific information to make sure that it has value and there are no health or environmental concerns related to it’s use when used accoding to lable directions. As part of its assessment, health Canada takes into consideration the effects of a single, multiple and/or lifetime exposure to a pesticide.

Only then is a crop protection product granted regulatory approval, which can then be commercilaized into the market. Pesticides must also continue to meet Health Canada’s rigorous standards and are evaluated every 15 years, or when new information indicates that further investigation is required.

The Government of Canada also oversees the use of pesticides to ensure they’re applied properly and that growers are adhering to safe residue limits. Residue limits are monitored and enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for both domestic and imported foods.

In Canada, pesticides are regulated by Health Canada under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) and its Regulations.

Canadians benefit from plant science technologies everyday.