Skip to navigation Skip to content

Chemical residue management

Food safety is an increasing concern in many of our key export markets, including the risk of chemical residues entering the supply chain. To help to protect and maintain the reputation of Western Australian growers as suppliers of clean, safe grain, CBH tests for chemical residues during and after harvest. This ensures that grain in the supply chain complies with the relevant Australian Maximum Residue Limits and can be supplied according to customer specifications.

Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs)

An MRL is the highest amount of chemical residue legally allowed in a food product. Most countries set their own MRLs. In Australia, MRLs are set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). However, when exporting grain, we must comply with the export market’s MRLs. MRLs are subject to change.

Please review the current Australian MRLs on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment website.

Grower responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the grower to ensure that:

  • all chemicals are applied to crops in accordance with manufacturer’s label instructions; and
  • any grain delivered to CBH complies with State and Federal legislation by not containing chemical residues that are in excess of Australian Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

Any delivery of grain which contains chemical residues that are in excess of the Australian MRL, is a breach of the:

  • Bulk Handling Act 1967 (WA), and the Bulk Handling Act Regulations
  • Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Agriculture Standards) Regulations 2013, and
  • Health (Pesticides) Regulations 2011.

The delivery and sale of chemically contaminated grain to CBH is a breach of your contractual obligations.

Declaring chemical use

Growers or their representatives must complete the Chemical Usage Declaration section on the CDF for each load of grain delivered.

No declaration = no delivery.
If you deliver barley, you must also complete the declarations for IMI and glyphosate usage.

Role of CBH in managing chemical residues

To help maintain our reputation for supplying clean and safe grain, CBH tests for chemical residues both during and after harvest. CBH works with local industry and destination markets to understand requirements and changes in this dynamic environment.

In addition, through the National Residue Survey (NRS), DAWE conducts chemical residue testing on every shipment of grain exported from Australia. Grain buyers also conduct independent chemical residue testing on export shipments from WA.

CBH’s chemical residue testing process

Grain samples are collected in the sample shed in secure, tamper-evident packaging and sent to CBH’s Australian Grains Centre, before being tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.

If a chemical residue is detected above the Australian MRL, the sample is re-tested by a third-party laboratory.

Outcome and discussion

If the re-tested sample contains chemicals above the relevant MRL, our Country Quality team will contact the grower to provide details of the contaminated loads. When chemical residues are detected, and the result is not disputed or stands following dispute and consultation with CBH, the following contaminated load delivery charges will apply:

Charges made where detections are not made in consecutive years.

  • Where detections are not made in consecutive years, the charge structure restarts from the first year.
  • These charges may vary if the dispute process is applied.
  • Detections are measured against maximum residue limits (MRLs), with reference to the Australian MRL as set by the APVMA.

Dispute process

If growers would like to dispute the chemical detection in their load, they must do so within 30 days of being contacted by the CBH Country Quality team in line with CBH’s Post-harvest Dispute Process.

More information

For queries regarding the use of chemicals on your grain, please seek expert advice from your local agronomist or chemical supplier. You can also view the relevant Australian MRL from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.