Terminal Elevators – Application of Mineral Oil to Grain

Order number 2023-28


  1. Emission of dust in the handling of grain is known to be an issue of environmental concern and workplace safety and health. The application of mineral oil to grain may reduce the emission of dust in the handling of grain but may cause the grain to be contaminated as that term is defined in the Canada Grain Act (the “Act”).
  2. Except with the permission of the Canadian Grain Commission (the “Commission”), an operator of a licensed elevator may not mix any grain in the elevator with any material other than grain, as provided for in subsection 104(d) of the Act.
  3. The Commission has authority under subsections 118(d) and 118(h) of the Act to make orders requiring the operator of an elevator to treat or dispose of contaminated grain in a manner approved by the Commission and to provide directives to the trade and is required under subsection 76(1)(c) to provide directions for treatment or disposal of contaminated grain in a licensed terminal elevator.
  4. At this time, the Commission has no scientific evidence that the application of food-grade mineral oil at the concentration of 0.02 % by weight of the grain to which it is applied has an effect on end-use qualities of wheat, malting barley, general purpose barley, oats, peas, lentils and food-type soybeans.
  5. The Commission is satisfied that the application of food-grade mineral oil is an effective means of dust suppression available to the terminal elevator operator; is necessary for the forward movement of grain in the interests of producers of grain; does not conceal the true characteristics of the grain; and has no negative effect or significant impact (within the margin of error) on any of the assessed quality parameters of grain destined for the human food market.
  6. The decision in respect of this order was made at a meeting of quorum of the Commission on May 10, 2023. Two of three Commissioners constitutes a quorum of the Commission.

The Commission makes the following order:

  1. Pursuant to subsection 104(d), the Commission permits the application of mineral oil to grain in licensed terminal elevators, as follows:
    1. Only mineral oil which meets food grade specifications as prescribed for food additives under the Foods and Drugs Act may be used;
    2. Application rate of the mineral oil will not exceed 0.02% by weight of the grain to which it is applied;
    3. Application of mineral oil is restricted to those seeds designated by regulation as a grain for the purposes of the Act and destined for the export market, for which, as verified in documents provided by the terminal elevator, the purchaser accepts the application of mineral oil;
    4. Mineral oil will not be applied after official sampling, inspection or weighing under the Act; and
    5. This permission applies only to operators of terminal elevators licensed by the Commission which have submitted an initial request, as set out below, and received acknowledgement and approval from the Commission that the request is complete.
  2. Terminal elevator operators wishing to apply mineral oil to grain must submit, to the Commission, a request for permission in the form provided by the Commission and containing the following information:
    1. Date of the request, and name of the licenced terminal elevator operator;
    2. A description and schematic of all equipment to be used in the application of mineral oil (e.g. storage tanks, oil pumps, lines, regulators, meters, application nozzles); including the number of application nozzles and the location where the application nozzles will be installed;
    3. Identification as to whether mineral oil will be applied on the receipt of grain, during the handling and/or cleaning of grain, or on discharge of grain;
    4. Detailed description of the measures in place for the terminal elevator operator to verify, on an ongoing basis, even application and that application rates of mineral oil are within permitted tolerances;
    5. Detailed description of the measures in place, or the work instruction, to be followed in the event of excess application of mineral oil or mineral oil spills;
    6. Identification of visual monitors and/or devices that are accessible to Commission inspectors to verify application of mineral oil in accordance with this permission;
    7. The intended application rate of mineral oil, expressed in a percentage by weight;
    8. The nature and type of records that will be maintained by the terminal elevator operator regarding its application of mineral oil;
    9. Documentation confirming that mineral oil from the intended supplier meets food grade specifications in Canada; and
    10. Documentation confirming density values for the intended mineral oil.
  3. Prior to loading a vessel with grain treated with mineral oil, the terminal elevator operator must notify the Commission of mineral oil application as part of the process for submission of Vessel Loading Orders. The Vessel Loading Order must now contain the following information:
    1. Grain tonnages to be loaded and the intended average mineral oil application rate;
    2. A reference that food grade mineral oil has been applied to the grain; and
    3. Confirmation that the purchaser of the grain accepts the application of mineral oil.
  4. The terminal elevator operator will provide the Commission with a monthly report on its use of mineral oil, no later than seven calendar days from the end of a calendar month, in the form provided, stating the following information:
    1. Name of the terminal elevator;
    2. Total tonnage of grain to which mineral oil was applied, during the month;
    3. Quantity, in litres, of mineral oil applied to that tonnage of grain during the month;
    4. Copies of all documentation indicating the mineral oil supplier’s name, address and date of delivery, litres of mineral oil supplied, and product data to demonstrate the mineral oil meets food grade specifications in Canada and density values; and
    5. Average application rate of mineral oil expressed in percentage by weight.
  5. The terminal elevator operator will maintain records, for a minimum of 2 years, and make them available to Commission inspectors on request, demonstrating the following:
    1. Mineral oil application rates applied on receipt, during handling or cleaning, or upon discharge of grain;
    2. Evidence of acceptance of grain treated with mineral oil by grain purchasers;
    3. Volumes of mineral oil purchased;
    4. Quality properties and specifications of mineral oil purchased; and
    5. Maintenance and/or replacement of equipment used in the application of mineral oil.
  6. Pursuant to section 76(1) of the Act, if any anomalies with the application of mineral oil are experienced at any point in the mineral oil application process, terminal elevator operators must report such anomalies to the Commission.
  7. Terminal elevator operators must ensure that any equipment used for application of mineral oil at all times complies with any applicable standards imposed by any civic, provincial, or federal authority, and is installed and used in accordance with manufacturer guidelines.
  8. This Order comes into effect on the later of the crop year commencing August 1, 2023 or the signing date and will remain in effect until July 31, 2024, or such earlier date as it may be amended or revoked, after which date monthly reports must be provided in regard to previously unreported application of mineral oil; grain to which mineral oil was applied prior to July 31, 2024 may be discharged from a terminal elevator after July 31, 2024; and any mineral oil application after that date will not have the permission of the Commission.
  9. The permission provided under this Order may be withdrawn by further order of the Commission in respect of any terminal elevator operator which has not, in the Commission’s opinion, satisfied the conditions of this Order.

This order may be executed and delivered via facsimile or PDF and in any number of counterparts, each of which shall be deemed to be an original and all of which taken together shall be deemed to constitute one and the same instrument, and it shall not be necessary in making proof of this order to produce or account for more than one such counterpart.

Doug Chorney
Chief Commissioner

Patty Rosher
Assistant Chief Commissioner

Lonny McKague

Signed on: May 10, 2023