EcoCert Canada – Question – Why is Neem Oil Listed on the Organic Permitted Substance Listing if it is Illegal to use in Canada, including Quebec?

This was discussed here with Caroline Levesque Customer Services from Eco-Cert Canada a few months back, but Eco-Cert failed to offer an explaination. Here is why Neem Oil is Listed. Take note that Neem Oil is not allowed to be used in CANADA at all, even though EcoCert alludes to Quebec being exempt. 

The 1 exception is for an emergency registration of Tree-Azin (Bioforests Technology), Emerald Ash Borer Pest.

 Neem Oil is listed as an Insecticide within the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Guidelines, but has no registered products in Canada.  You cannot use it as an insecticide within Canada.  It is legal to use in the USA for example.


S p e c i a l  S e c t i o n  o n  t h e  C a n a d a  O r g a n i c  S t a n d a r d




This may also be the time to point out that the PSL includes generic

material (e.g. neem and rotenone) that aren’t registered for use in


This was done purposely to assure that imported food and food products

from jurisdictions where the use is legal could be traded/marketed and

used in Canada.


Neem oil, an extract from Azadirachta indica, a

tropical shrubby tree, has been added to the PSL but

as there are no registered PMRA products containing

neem it cannot be used within Canada. Neem has

been added to the PSL to allow ingredients and products

produced in other countries where it is legal to

use neem to be imported and used in Canada.



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ecocert canada says:


Ecocert Canada is a certification body that is accredited by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. We do voluntary monitoring of organic farms and food processors according to the Canadian Organic Standards, which is managed by the CFIA and applies to edible agricultural products.
The document that you have posted on your page from Ecocert are completely outdated and no longer in use. For updated info please refer to our website You can also look into the permitted substances list published by the Canadian Organic Office at
Neem is permitted in organic agriculture. If you wish to share your concerns about the use of Neem oil please contact the CFIA and the Canadian Organic Office directly.

If you have more questions about organic agriculture and organic certification please feel free to contact me through the Ecocert Canada website.

Kind regards,

Caroline Levesque
Customer Service


ecocert canada says:


The permitted substances list is only for the individual substances and not for formulated products. If you take the leaves of the neem tree and make an infusion, for example, with no other substances (chemical or otherwise) you could use it. The organic standards don't deal with products per say, only individual substances. Sometimes a substance is approved for use in organic agriculture however the products on the market may also include substances that are not permitted in organics. The neem oil on the market may have a toxic emulsifier or other ingredient which makes it unusable.

Ecocert doesn't advocate the use of particular products, we can however verify that a product is compliant with the organic standards. We are not involved with the registration of pesticide products with Health Canada.

Our website has recently been updated and the document that is posted above is no longer in use. This document was created with information from the CARTV, which is the regulatory body in the province of Québec. You can access their website at Quebec is the only provice that regulates organics within the province and they have their own set of standards.

It is great to raise awareness about such topics and to share information with as many people as possible.

Take care,