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New rules on pesticide residues to make EU food safer

29 August 2008
by eub2 -- last modified 29 August 2008

A new regulation revising and simplifying the rules pertaining to pesticide residues enters into force on 1 September 2008.


The new EU rules set harmonised Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides. They ensure food safety for all consumers and allow traders and importers to do business smoothly as confusion over dealing with 27 lists of national MRLs is eliminated.

The new Regulation covers approximately 1100 pesticides currently or formerly used in agriculture in or outside the EU. It lists MRLs for 315 agricultural products. These MRLs also apply to processed products, adjusted to take account of dilution or concentration during processing.

The new rules take into consideration the safety of all consumer groups. This includes, for example, babies, children and vegetarians. EFSA is responsible for the safety assessment, which is based on the properties of the pesticide, on the maximum levels expected on food and on the different diets of European consumers.

The background:

Under the previous regime, different MRLs were applicable to the same pesticide for the same crop in different Member States, a situation which gave rise to questions from consumers, farmers and traders.

The previous MRL-regime, being replaced by Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, was too complex as it combined harmonised EU and divergent national rules.

The new regulation is the result of a considerable joint effort by the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Member States.

Source: European Commission

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