Prevent treated seed contamination

Best practices to prevent treated seed in deliveries

  1. Clean up spills and dispose of left-over treated seed as required by your province or municipality.
  2. Take part in seed bag collection programs where available.
  3. Consider using dedicated bins for treated seed when possible.
  4. Clean all equipment, bins and vehicles thoroughly after seeding and before harvest.
  5. Visually inspect equipment and bins for treated seed:
    • Before harvest
    • Before transferring grain between bins
    • Before transferring grain to a truck or railcar for delivery

Do your part. Be grain safe. Keep treated seed out.

Everyone in Canada’s grain industry works together. As treated seed becomes more common, we all need to make sure it stays out of grain deliveries.

Even the smallest amount of treated seed in a grain delivery can cause big problems. Because treated seed presents a serious risk to human and animal health, elevators must maintain a zero tolerance for treated seed in grain deliveries.

Deliveries of grain contaminated with treated seed cost everyone in the grain industry. If treated seed is discovered in a grain lot, the elevator will reject the delivery. The entire lot may be required to be destroyed. The producer may be liable for all costs, including costs caused by business disruption, cleanout for any delivered grain and any contamination of other grain.

The Canada Grain Act prohibits you from delivering contaminated grain. If your grain is contaminated, a licensed grain handling facility cannot receive it.

Deliveries at primary elevators

Under the Canada Grain Act,

  • A licensed grain handling facility, such as a licensed primary elevator, cannot:
    • Receive grain that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated
    • Ship grain that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated
  • A producer (or a person acting on a producer’s behalf) cannot deliver grain to a licensed facility that is contaminated with treated seed or suspected to be contaminated.

This means a producer cannot deliver grain that is known to contain treated seed or is suspected to contain treated seed. As well, if an elevator operator knows that grain is contaminated with treated seed or suspects that it is contaminated, he or she cannot accept the grain.

Unloads at terminal elevators

When a railcar of grain unloads at the terminal elevator a sample is collected for inspection by either the elevator operator or a third party inspector. If an inspector sees seeds that are stained with a dye, the inspector has reason to suspect that the grain contains treated seed.

Attention: What happens when contamination is suspected

If contamination is suspected, the terminal elevator operator is obligated to inform the closest Canadian Grain Commission office. The elevator operator will bin the load separately, document the location of the grain, as well as complete and submit form I-137 – Grain Safety and Infestation Notification. Form I-137, the suspected treated seeds and the sample are then sent to the closest Canadian Grain Commission office who then forward the sample to the Chief Grain Inspector for analysis.

The Chief Grain Inspector consults with the scientists at the Grain Research Laboratory to determine if the sample contains pesticides. The Grain Research Laboratory analyzes the grain. If it does contain pesticides the Grain Research Laboratory is able to identify the type of pesticide used.

Once there is confirmation that a sample is contaminated, the concentration of pesticide in the railcar of grain is calculated based on the sample inspected. The Chief Grain Inspector decides what happens to the lot that contains pesticides. If the lot is over the limits set by Health Canada, the Chief Grain Inspector can condemn the grain as it is contaminated (as defined by the Canada Grain Act). The Chief Grain Inspector makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis and will convey to the elevator how and when the grain will be disposed of.

Limits in domestic and export grain

Health Canada has set maximum residue limits for chemicals in Canadian grain, including those used to treat seed. Any grain that exceeds these limits can be condemned. This means that the grain cannot enter the food or feed system and is destroyed.

Countries that import Canadian grain may have their own limits for chemical residues in grain. If a load of grain exceeds the limit set by the export country, the customer could refuse to accept the shipment.

At the Canadian Grain Commission, the Grain Research Laboratory can analyze samples for the presence of approximately 200 pesticides (insecticides, herbicides or fungicides), including those commonly used to treat seeds.