Here you can find legislation and guidance for pesticides residues in food.
Plant protection products (PPPs) are designed to protect plants against pests (e.g., insects, weeds) or diseases. PPPs consist of one or more active substances and other substances, such as safeners, synergists (a substance, organ, or other agent that participates in an effect of synergy), co-formulants (e.g., carriers, solvents) and adjuvants (a substance which enhances the body's immune response to an antigen).
The legislation lays down rules for the approval of active substances, safeners and synergists, and rules for adjuvants and co-formulants. Active substances, safeners and synergists are approved by the European Commission and PPPs are authorised by the Member States. In Ireland, PPPs are approved by the Pesticides Control Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. The legislation also sets maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticide residues to protect consumers.
PPPs and their residues are regulated under:
- Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market and repealing Council Directives 79/117/EEC and 91/414/EEC (OJ L 309 24.11.2009), as amended, and
- Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC (Directive 91/414 was replaced by Regulation 1107/2009) (OJ L 70, p1, 16.3.2005), as amended.
In addition, Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides (OJ L 309, 24/11/2009), as amended, referred to as “The Sustainable Use Directive” and Regulation (EC) No 1185/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 concerning statistics on pesticides (OJ L 324, 10.12.2009), as amended, are additional instruments aimed at ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment from pesticides.
Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, as amended, defines residues as “one or more substances present in or on plants or plant products, edible animal products, drinking water or elsewhere in the environment and resulting from the use of a plant protection product, including their metabolites, breakdown or reaction products”;
A 'maximum residue level' (MRL) is defined in Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005, as amended, as “the upper legal level of a concentration for a pesticide residue in or on food or feed set in accordance with this Regulation, based on good agricultural practice and the lowest consumer exposure necessary to protect vulnerable consumers”.
The MRLs are set as follows:
- MRLs that are specific to particular foodstuffs that are intended for human or animal consumption,
- a general limit that applies where no specific MRL has been set.
Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005, as amended, lists the products of plant and animal origin for which MRLs have been set. Annexes II and III list existing MRLs and Annex IV establishes a list of active substances for which no MRLs are required.
Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005, as amended, does not apply to the products listed in Annex I where it may be established by appropriate evidence that they are intended for:
- the manufacture of products other than food or feed; or
- sowing or planting; or
- activities authorised by national law for the testing of active substances
Concerning Infant formulae and follow-on formulae, Processed cereal based foods and baby foods and Dietary Foods for Special Medical Uses, the respective legislation, i.e. Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/127, Commission Directive (EC) 2006/125 and Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/128, sets specific conditions on the presence of pesticide residues in such food. These Regulations and Directive sets an overall pesticide default MRL of 0.01 mg/kg per active substance, except for specific pesticide substances, for which lower MRLs apply, i.e. lower than the default maximum residue level of 0.01 mg/kg. A list of these pesticides and their metabolites is provided for in the Annexes to the respective pieces of legislation.
The EU have a searchable database containing the active substances listed in the Annexes to Regulation 396/2005 and their associated Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). For infant and follow-on formulae and FSMPs, please refer to the respective legislation.
Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005, as amended, also details the procedure for submitting applications for MRL sets specific conditions on the presence of pesticide residues in such food. These Regulations and Directive sets an overall pesticide default MRL of 0.01 mg/kg per active substance, with the exception of specific pesticide substances, for which lower MRLs apply, i.e. lower than the default maximum residue level of 0.01 mg/kg. A list of these pesticides and their metabolites is provided for in the Annexes to the respective legislation from Member States.
European Communities (Pesticide Residues) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 565 of 2008). The amendments to this Regulation can be found in the following Statutory Instruments (S.I. No. 302 of 2011, S.I. No. 212 of 2012, S.I. No. 497 of 2012, S.I. No. 179 of 2013, S.I. No. 581 of 2013, S.I. No. 252 of 2014, S.I. No. 21 of 2015, S.I. No. 228 of 2015, S.I. No. 524 of 2015, S.I. No. 67 of 2016, S.I. No. 456 of 2016, S.I. No. 598 of 2016, S.I. No. 247 of 2017, S.I. No. 549 of 2017, S.I. No. 523 of 2018, S.I. No. 617 of 2019, S.I. No. 558 of 2020)