EU’s Glyphosate Tolerances Loom Over Lentil Trade

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Canada’s lentil industry wants to see the European Union afford the same tolerances for glyphosate residue on lentils as it does on other pulse crops.

The CEOs of Pulse Canada and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council say they’ve booked meetings across the European continent with pulse buyers to “work to ensure that there is a clear path forward” on the issue.

The EU’s maximum allowable level for glyphosate is now 0.1 parts per million (ppm), compared to a tolerance of 10 ppm in peas, Pulse Canada said in a release.

By comparison, maximum tolerances for glyphosate residues on lentils in Canada are four ppm for lentils and five for peas, Pulse Canada said. In the U.S., those tolerances are set at five ppm for lentils and eight for peas.

Glyphosate is tolerated at levels 500 times higher in mushrooms and 100 times higher in wheat, canola and peas in Europe compared to the bloc’s tolerance for lentils, Pulse Canada said.

Pulse Canada said the issue of the EU’s tolerances first emerged when a shipment of organic lentils from Turkey was tested and found to exceed the EU’s tolerance for glyphosate.

The majority of North America’s lentils will have no detectable level of glyphosate because the bulk of the crop was not treated with the product, Pulse Canada CEO Gordon Bacon said.

That said, “Europe is an important market for North American lentils and we need to ensure that there are workable solutions in place for the trade to address the differences in glyphosate tolerances,” Bacon said. “This issue clearly points out the need for more harmonization across jurisdictions.”

Canada’s pulse exporters have said they’re now being especially cautious until they have a better understanding about how their product will be handled on arrival overseas, Pulse Canada’s Carl Potts said in an interview April 13.

Canadian exporters shipped 118,000 tonnes of lentils, worth $111 million, to the EU in 2010, Potts said, making the European bloc Canada’s second largest total lentil export market after Turkey.

Glyphosate residues in lentils “must be considered in the context of what is deemed to be acceptable levels in other foods in Europe,” Pulse Canada said in its release.

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Thisissueclearly pointsouttheneedfor moreharmonization acrossjurisdictions.”

Gordon Bacon Pulse Canada

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