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General Provisions

EU Legislation

Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 (OJ L70, p1, 16/3/2005 ) 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

Amended by

  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 178/2006 (OJ L29, p3, 02/02/2006) of 1 February 2006 amending Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council to establish Annex I listing the food and feed products to which maximum levels for pesticide residues apply
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 149/2008 ( OJ L58, p1, 01/03/2008) of 29 January 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing Annexes II, III and IV setting maximum residue levels for products covered by Annex I there to
  1. Corrigendum (OJ L240, p9, 09/09/2008) to Commission Regulation (EC) No 149/2008 of 29 January 2008
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 260/2008 (OJ L76, p31, 19/03/2008) of 18 March 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing Annex VII listing active substance/product combinations covered by a derogation as regards post harvest treatments with a fumigant
  • Regulation (EC) No 299/2008 (OJ L97, p67, 09/04/2008) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, as regards the implementing powers conferred on the Commission
  • Commission Regulation (EC) No 839/2008 (OL L234, p1, 30/08/2008 ) of 31 July 2008 amending Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards Annexes II, III and IV on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on certain product

Consolidated version ofRegulation (EC) No. 396/2005 ( up to 10th April 2008)

Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 came into force on 5 April 2005 however, Chapters II, III and V will only apply six months from the date of publication of the last of the Regulations establishing Annexes I, II, III and IV. On that date Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 repeals the following: 

  • Council Directive 76/895/EEC (OJ L340, p26, 09/12/1976) of 23 November 1976 relating to the fixing of maximum levels for pesticide residues in and of fruit and vegetables
  • Council Directive 86/362/EEC (OJ L221, p37, 07/08/1986) of 24 July 1986 on the fixing of maximum levels for pesticide residues in and on cereals

Amended by

Commission Directive 2007/73/EC (OJ L329, p40, 14/12/2007 ) of 13 December 2007

  • Council Directive 86/363/EEC (OJ L221, p43, 07/08/1986) of 24 July 1986 on the fixing of maximum levels for pesticide residues and on foodstuffs of animal origin
  • Council Directive 90/642/EEC (OJ L350, p71, 14/12/1990) of 27 Nov 1990 on the fixing of maximum levels for pesticide residues in and on certain products of plant origin, including fruit and vegetables

Amended by

National Legislation

European Communities (Pesticide Residues) Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 565 of 2008)

Amended by

European Communities (Pesticide Residues) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 179 of 2013)

In accordance with the general principles laid down in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 and the need to ensure a high level of consumer protection, Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 establishes harmonised provisions throughout the European Community relating to maximum levels of pesticide residues in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin.

The maximum residue levels (MRL) include:

  • 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.

Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 applies to food and feed of plant and animal origin or parts thereof which are listed in Annex 1 of Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 and which are to be used as fresh, processed and/or composite food or feed, in or on which pesticide residues may be present.

It defines ‘pesticide residues' as “residues, including active substances, metabolites and/or breakdown or reaction products of active substances currently or formerly used in plant protection products as defined in Article 2, point 1 of Directive 91/414/EEC, which are present in or on the products covered by Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 including in particular those which may arise as a result of use in plant protection, in veterinary medicine and as a biocide”

Maximum residue level' (MRL) is defined in Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 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”

Annex I to Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 lists the groups of products for which harmonised maximum residual levels (MRLs) will apply, in particular those products covered by Directives 76/895/EEC (fruit and vegetables), 86/362/EEC (cereals), 86/363/EEC (foodstuffs of animal origin) and 90/642/EEC (products of vegetable origin) and honey. Annexes II and III will list existing MRLs and Annex IV will establish a list of active substances for which no MRLs are required.

Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 also details the procedure for submitting applications for MRLs from Member States. MRLs for products covered by Annex I will be first established and listed in Annex II in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 45 (2) of Regulation(EC) No. 396/2005, incorporating the MRLs provided for under Directives 86/362/EEC86/363/EEC and 90/642/EEC.

Last reviewed: 9/7/2013

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