Requirements for condition of grain at delivery
The Canada Grain Act does not allow anyone to deliver contaminated or infested grain. Licensed grain handling facilities are prohibited from receiving contaminated or infested grain.
Under the Canada Grain Act:
- a licensed grain handling facility, such as a licensed primary elevator, cannot
- receive grain that is contaminated or infested or is suspected to be contaminated or infested
- ship grain that is contaminated or infested or suspected to be contaminated or infested, unless authorized to do so after the Canadian Grain Commission has determined it is safe or free of infestation
- a producer (or a person acting on a producer’s behalf) cannot deliver grain to a licensed facility that is contaminated or infested or suspected to be contaminated or infested
A number of different substances can contaminate grain. Examples of possible contaminants include treated seed, insects, chemicals, debris, and excreta. This list is not exhaustive. If you have questions about possible contaminants or for information about what to do if you suspect your grain may be contaminated, contact the Canadian Grain Commission.
Unloads at terminal elevators
When a railcar of grain unloads at a terminal elevator, a sample is collected for inspection by the elevator operator or an authorized third-party inspector.
What happens when contamination is suspected
If contamination or infestation is suspected, the terminal elevator operator must inform the closest Canadian Grain Commission office.
If a terminal elevator operator suspects the grain may be contaminated, the elevator operator:
- bins the load separately
- documents the location of the grain
- completes the grain safety and infestation notification form
- submits the completed form and the grain sample to the closest Canadian Grain Commission office
Experts at the Canadian Grain Commission consult with the scientists at the Canadian Grain Commission’s Grain Research Laboratory to determine what the sample contains. Where seed treatment contamination is suspected, the Grain Research Laboratory analyzes the grain and identifies what type of contamination is present and the level of contamination, if any.
If the grain is contaminated, the concentration of contamination in the lot of grain is calculated based on the sample inspected. The Canadian Grain Commission decides what happens to the contaminated lot. If the lot exceeds maximum residue limits, the grain may be condemned. The Canadian Grain Commission makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis and will inform the elevator of their options for how to handle the contaminated lot.
What happens when an insect infestation is suspected
If an insect infestation is found or suspected in a delivery to a licensed terminal elevator, the elevator operator informs the Canadian Grain Commission about the infestation and what kind of insects have been found. The operator sends a sample of the affected grain and any insects discovered to the Canadian Grain Commission so the insects can be identified. The Canadian Grain Commission then works with the terminal elevator operator to manage the infestation at the terminal elevator.
Grain is considered infested if the insects found are injurious, noxious or troublesome.
Maximum residue limits in grain
Health Canada has set maximum residue limits for many 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 may need to be destroyed.
Many countries that import Canadian grain have their own limits for chemical residues in grain. If a load of grain exceeds the limit set by the importing country, the customer could refuse to accept the shipment.
The Grain Research Laboratory routinely monitors grain export shipments, and has the capacity to analyze samples for the presence of approximately 200 pesticides (insecticides, herbicides or fungicides), including those commonly used to treat seeds.
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