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T-4- 112 – By-products and other "Waste-derived" materials sold as fertilizers or supplements

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Effective October 26, 2020, the amended Fertilizers Regulations are in force. Regulated parties can comply with either the "new" regulations or the "old" regulations for a period of 3 years. This applies to the manufacture, sale, import or export of fertilizers and supplements regulated under the Fertilizers Act.

New regulatory requirements (as of October 26, 2020)

1. Purpose

The purpose of this document is to outline information and registration requirements (if applicable) for fertilizers and supplements containing and/or derived from plant and animal by-products and/or industrial wastes under the Fertilizers Act and Regulations.

Products covered by this Trade Memorandum may include: plant and animal by-products, extracts, industrial wastes, anaerobic digestates, municipal biosolids, etc.

2. Standards and registration

All fertilizer and supplement products must meet the general safety standards as out lined in Trade Memorandum T-4-93 with respect to ingredients, compositional criteria and potential contaminants of concern. Some products (especially those containing, produced by or derived from living organisms) require registration under the Fertilizers Act prior to importation and sale in Canada. This applies irrespective of the product's end-use pattern (home and garden vs. farm applications). For more information on which products require registration and which are exempt from pre-market assessment please consult the Registration Triggers. Unless the product is explicitly exempt from registration (either because it appears on the List of Primary Fertilizer and Supplement Materials or meets another exemption from registration) the final fertilizer or supplement product requires registration.

3. Information and data requirements

The information that must be provided to enable the assessment of by-products and other "waste-derived" materials sold as (in) fertilizers or supplements is outlined in the Guide to Submitting Applications for Registration under the Fertilizers Act. Registration submission requirements specific to individual product types can also be found in the applicable submission checklists.

In the case of waste-derived materials, particular focus will be placed on:

  1. identification and description of the product's constituent material(s) derived from the specific waste stream used;
  2. the product label;
  3. the intended action of the product (e.g. provides plant nutrients or acts as a supplement), and the recommended rates and methods of application;
  4. the content of plant nutrients in the product or other active ingredients or essential components which account for its activity/benefits. Applications should specify, if known, the form in which these ingredients occur;
  5. description of the industrial or manufacturing process from which the product and each constituent by-product or "waste-derived" material(s) is obtained. Note: a flow-chart diagram of this process facilitates the CFIA's review and is preferred.
    • include a description of feedstock for the process, any chemicals or materials added throughout the pathway of the process, and any transformations these undergo as a result of the process
    • identify the point(s) during the process at which the product or the by-product or "waste" is generated
  6. scientific reports (if available) on the human, plant, animal or environmental safety of the product or its constituent materials, and on their environmental fate;
  7. current uses of the material (if any) including agricultural and/or industrial uses;
  8. any other information related to the potential safety of the product (e.g., related to by-products, degradation products or contaminants associated with the industrial process from which a by-product is generated);
  9. disclosure of the list of ingredients that present a risk of harm to the health of Any human or animal that do not appear on the label as required by the Regulations.

4. Labelling

Labelling requirements for all fertilizers and supplements including those containing by-products and waste-derived materials are outlined in Trade Memorandum T-4-130 – Labeling requirements for fertilizers and supplements.

4.1 Precautionary statements

According to the Regulations any fertilizer or supplement (other than a customer-formula fertilizer) may be required to have a statement on the label setting out any precaution that is necessary to mitigate a risk of harm to human, animal or plant health or the environment (other than pest). This may include allergenicity statements.

If the fertilizer or supplement is or contains prohibited material as defined in subsection 162(1) of the Health of Animals Regulations, statements are required to indicate that:

  1. feeding the fertilizer or supplement to cattle, sheep, deer or other ruminants is prohibited and punishable under the Health of Animals Act,
  2. the fertilizer or supplement is not to be used on pasture land or other grazing areas for ruminants,
  3. the fertilizer or supplement is not to be ingested, and
  4. a person must wash their hands after they use the fertilizer or supplement.

5. Application to land and disposal

Use (including application to land) and disposal are regulated by provincial and municipal jurisdictions therefore additional requirements and restrictions may apply. Please contact the appropriate authority in your area for further information. Note: products that are not sold (given away) or are generated on premises and applied to the same land do not fall under the purview of the Fertilizers Act.

6. Requirements other than those under the Fertilizers Act and Regulations

In addition to the requirements under the Fertilizers Act and Regulations, other federal rules may apply to the import, export, distribution or sale of waste-derived materials and by-products.

For importation, the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) should be consulted in advance.

6.1 Plant Protection Act and Regulations

The CFIA establishes and maintains policies and standards, under the authority of the Plant Protection Act and Regulations, relating to the importation and domestic movement of soil and related matter which includes humus, compost, earthworm castings, muck, plant litter, debris and peat moss to prevent the introduction and spread of regulated pests into Canada. Please refer to the CFIA's Soil and soil-related matter website for additional information about phytosanitary requirements that may apply to a specific activity.

6.2 Health of Animals Act and Regulations

The Health of Animals Act and Regulations provide the legislative and regulatory authority for the animal health import program for animal products and by-products. Please refer to CFIA's Animal, animal products and by-product imports website for additional information about requirements that may apply to a specific activity.

7. Contact information

For further information on the above data requirements, please contact:
Fertilizer Safety Section
c/o Pre-market Application Submissions Office (PASO)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Canada
Phone: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 613-773-7115
Email: cfia.paso-bpdpm.acia@inspection.gc.ca

Old regulatory requirements (until October 26, 2023)

Purpose

There is increasing interest in the recycling of by-products and waste materials for land application as fertilizers and supplements (example; soil amendments). The obvious benefits from this practice include the return of a number of nutrients to soil and the improvement of soil physical conditions. This document outlines the requirements specific to the use of by-products and other waste-derived materials as fertilizers or supplements, or ingredients for such products.

Regulatory authority

Fertilizers and supplements sold or imported into Canada are regulated by the CFIA under the authority of the Fertilizers Act. All fertilizer and supplement products must meet the regulatory requirements with respect to safety and labelling as outlined in the Fertilizers Regulations. However, some products also require registration prior to entry into the marketplace. Section 3.1 (3) of the Fertilizers Regulations outlines exemptions from registration. Specifically, the following types of products are exempt from registration:

  1. Fertilizers and supplements listed in Schedule II of the Fertilizers Regulations;
  2. Mixed farm fertilizers that contain nutrients in a mineral form (obtained by extraction or by physical or chemical processes) and do not contain pesticides;
  3. Supplements sold only for correction of soil acidity or alkalinity;
  4. Specialty fertilizers (recommended for use on household plants, urban gardens, lawns or golf courses or in nurseries or greenhouses) that contain major plant nutrients and do not contain pesticides.

Products which do not meet any of these exemptions require registration under the Fertilizers Act prior to entry into the marketplace. Registration submission requirements specific to the product type can be found in the applicable submission checklists.

Submission requirements

The following list of information should be provided for the assessment of by-products and other "waste-derived" materials sold as (in) fertilizers or supplements. Once the information is received, the Fertilizer Safety Section will conduct a preliminary screening of the safety of the product. Any additional requirements will then be outlined.

  1. Identify and describe the product and its constituent material(s) (by-products or "wastes").
  2. Provide a copy of the product label or shipping bill (if sold in bulk).
  3. Describe the benefits of using the product (e.g. provides plant nutrients or acts as a supplement), and the recommended rates and methods of application.
  4. Identify the product's nutrients or other active ingredients or essential components which account for the benefits. Specify if known, the form in which these ingredients occur.
  5. Identify and describe in general terms the industrial or manufacturing process from which the product and each constituent by-product or "waste-derived" material is derived. A flow-chart diagram of this process would also be helpful.
    • Include a description of feedstock for the process, any chemicals or materials added throughout the pathway of the process, and any transformations these undergo as a result of the process.
    • Also, identify the point(s) during the process at which the product or the by-product or "waste" is generated.
  6. Identify, based on point 5 and any available analyses, contaminants which may occur in the material. Specify if known, the form in which these contaminants occur.
  7. Provide any analyses of the product which may be available, accompanied by methods of analysis, detection limits and recovery rates for the methods.
  8. Provide copies of scientific reports on the human, plant, animal or environmental safety of the product or its constituent materials, and on their environmental fate.
  9. Identify whether this material is currently being used in agriculture, or any other uses to which the material is being put.
  10. Provide any other information related to the potential safety of the product (e.g., related to by-products, degradation products or contaminants associated with the industrial process from which a by-product is generated).

Contact information

For further information on the above data requirements, please contact:

Fertilizer Safety Section
c/o Pre-market Application Submissions Office (PASO)
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Canada
Phone: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 613-773-7115
Email: paso-bpdpm@inspection.gc.ca

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