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T-4-112 - Information Required for the Assessment of By-products and Other "Waste-derived" Materials Sold as Fertilizers or Supplements

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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
Phone: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 613-773-7115

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