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Archived - New tolerances for Ergot, Sclerotinia and Fusarium

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May 23, 2014 – Winnipeg, Manitoba – Canadian Grain Commission

Updated tolerances for Ergot and Sclerotinia for most classes of wheat take effect in Eastern Canada on July 1, 2014, and in Western Canada on August 1, 2014. As well, new tolerances for Fusarium-damaged kernels take effect for Barley, Canada Eastern/Western Food.  The grade schedule for Oats, Canada Eastern will be updated to be a closer match to that of Oats, Canada Western. These changes are based on recommendations made to the Canadian Grain Commission by the Western Standards Committee and the Eastern Standards Committee at their meetings in April.

Quick facts

    • A tolerance of 0.5% for  Fusarium damage in Barley, Canadian Eastern (CE) / Canadian Western (CW) Food.
    • Updated tolerances of 0.04%  Ergot and 0.04% Sclerotinia for all grades except feed in the following classes  of Wheat, CW: Red Spring, Hard White Spring, Red Winter, Soft White Spring,  Extra Strong, Prairie Spring Red, Prairie Spring White.
    • Updated tolerances of 0.04%  Ergot and 0.04% Sclerotinia for all grades except feed in the following classes  of Wheat, CE: Red, Red Spring, Hard Red Winter, Hard White Spring, Soft Red  Winter, Soft White Spring, Hard White Winter, White Winter.
    • Updated tolerances of 0.02%  Ergot and 0.02% Sclerotinia for No. 1 and No.2 Wheat, CW Amber Durum and No. 1  and No. 2 Wheat, CE Amber Durum.
    • Updated tolerances of 0.04% Ergot  and 0.04% Sclerotinia for No. 3 and No. 4 Wheat, CW Amber Durum and No. 3  Wheat, CE Amber Durum
    • Currently, the Ergot tolerance  for Canadian wheat varies depending on the grade and class of wheat. Most  classes have an Ergot tolerance of 0.01% for No. 1 and 0.02% for No. 2, while  Extra Strong, Prairie Spring White and Prairie Spring Red have an Ergot  tolerance of 0.03% for No. 1 and 0.06% for No. 2. Although the new tolerances are wider for many classes, they are marginally tighter than Codex Alimentarius standards (international standards related to food), This means that more wheat may be eligible for delivery into higher grades without compromising safety.
    • Revised grade schedule for  Oats, CE to bring CE and CW grade schedules closer together.


“These grading changes are not only uniform between Eastern and Western Canada, they also ensure Canada’s grain continues to uphold its reputation for quality and safety.”

- Elwin Hermanson, Chief Commissioner, Canadian Grain Commission

“While Sclerotinia is not toxic like Ergot, we keep the tolerances the same for both because Sclerotinia is very similar in appearance to Ergot. By keeping tolerances the same for both of these grading factors, we can mitigate risk caused by any potential confusion between the two.”

- Daryl Beswitherick, Program Manager, Quality Assurance Standards, Canadian Grain Commission

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Randy Dennis
Chief Grain Inspector for Canada
Canadian Grain Commission

Canadian Grain Commission

The Canadian Grain Commission is the federal agency responsible for establishing and maintaining Canada’s grain quality standards. Its programs result in shipments of grain that consistently meet contract specifications for quality, safety and quantity. The Canadian Grain Commission regulates the grain industry to protect producers’ rights and ensure the integrity of grain transactions.

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