On June 3, 2020, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that the proposed MRLs for Azoxystrobin are to be implemented in berry fruits.

SAFEGUARDS | FoodNO. 094/20

SG 09420 Blueberries

Azoxystrobin [methyl (E)-2-{2-[6-(2-cyanophenoxy)-pyrimidin-4-yloxy]phenyl}-3-methoxyacrilate] is a broad spectrum fungicide belonging into the class of methoxyacrylates. It is used for treating downy mildew, early blight, anthracnose, and leaf spot disease. Its fungicidal activity is to inhibit mitochondrial respiration by blocking the electron transfer between cytochrome b and c1 at the ubiquinol-oxidizing site.  This compound has low mammalian toxicity but may bio-accumulative potential. Codex and food authorities in many countries such as Australia, the EU, Japan and the US have established maximum residue limits (MRLs) of Azoxystrobin in berries to ensure food safety. However, there were previously no Canadian MRLs. From this, the Pest Control Product Act, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) realized that and set the proposed MRLs [1], in Table 1. 

In recent years, the QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe) method has been widely applied for multi-pesticide analysis because of its high sample throughput and low solvent requirement. Azoxystrobin is among those pesticides which achieves good extraction by this method. This residue can be analyzed either by liquid or gas chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS or GC-MS/MS). The high selectivity and specificity of MS/MS can help laboratories to obtain reliable quantification and confirmation at the low concentrations required.

Table 1:  MRLs for Azoxystrobin in berry fruits

Compounds Food commodities MRLs (ppm)
Azoxystrobin (CAS # 131860-33-8)
Bearberries, bilberries, cloudberries, lingonberries, lowbush blueberries, muntries, and partridgeberries

What do the changes mean?

This update has the potential to affect agricultural producers and food manufacturers. Food products destined for Canada, if listed in Table 1, must not have residues of Azoxystrobin exceeding the listed MRL. Complying with food safety regulations can be a complex, time-consuming and expensive process. Food producers should seek professional advice.

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