Straw-shortening growth regulators inhibit the growth of grain stems, reducing the risk of crop lodging. We work to ensure that the use of chemicals in cultivation is sustainable, to minimize environmental and health-related risks.
Growth regulators are used to inhibit the growth of grain stems, reducing the risk of crop lodging which leads to difficulty harvesting and harvests of lower quality. In Sweden, straw-shortening growth regulators have previously only been allowed to use on rye, which has longer stems than other grain types. Legislation has been less restrictive in the rest of the EU. Since 2011, use of straw-shortening growth regulators on wheat, barley and oats is permitted in Sweden as well.
There is an ongoing discussion in the industry and in media about traces of pesticides in foods as well as other environmental and health aspects related to pesticides. When it comes to grain, the discussion is primarily focused on the use of straw-shortening growth regulators, since they are basically the only chemicals sometimes found in detectable levels. In Sweden the National Food Agency tests for traces of pesticides in vegetable and animal-based foods annually, to ensure they don’t contain amounts that are harmful or too high. These tests show measurable levels of growth regulators in certain cases, mainly in rye products. However, the levels are way below current limits for foods.
Lantmännen handles large amounts of grain and therefore needs to ensure clear information and responsible handling with regards to growth regulators in different grain flows. We offer products where the grain is cultivated without straw-shortening growth regulators.
Swedish food products without growth regulators
We work to ensure a sustainable use of growth regulators and to minimize environmental and health risks. We cultivate with different concepts and can offer products where the grain has been separated all the way from harvest to product. Kungsörnen’s A Friendlier Wheat and A Friendlier Rye as well as Lantmännen Cerealia’s organic assortment is cultivated without straw-shortening agents.
Regarding grain that is sold to other markets, our customers define limitations to the use of straw-shortening growth regulators, apart from what is stipulated by law. Among our customers and markets there is a demand both for so called standard quality, meaning use of growth regulators is accepted, as well as of grain 100% free from growth regulators.
Straw-shortening growth regulators is today an important issue in the dialogue with our many food customers, for example bakeries and other food companies.
Do you want to read more about pesticide traces in foods? We recommend that you visit the Swedish National Food Agency website
In the Swedish National Food Agency’s 2015 control of pesticide traces in foods a total of 112 samples of Swedish wheat and 35 samples of Swedish rye were analyzed. 43% of the rye samples contained traces of growth regulators, however the levels were way below the allowed maximum. No traces of pesticides were found in the samples of Swedish wheat.
Source: Swedish National Food Agency report ”Kontroll av bekämpningsmedelsrester I livsmedel 2015”.