Human health and the environment is a major concern for European Commission policy on the authorisation of plant protection products.
The yield of agricultural and horticultural crops can be severely reduced as a result of infestation by pests and diseases. In order to protect crops before and after harvest, plant protection products are used.
In some cases these products act by confusing insects or making crops less palatable for pests. But more commonly, the harmful insects, weeds and fungi are killed by these chemicals. Such pesticides could have severe undesirable effects if they are not strictly regulated.
In the European Union, no plant protection product can be used unless it has first been scientifically established that:
- they have no harmful effects on consumers, farmers and local residents and passers-by;
- they do not cause unacceptable effects on the environment;
- they are sufficiently effective against pests.
In an ambitious work programme launched in 1993, the European Commission started a Community-wide review process for all
active ingredients used in plant protection products within the European Union.
The evaluation, marketing and use of pesticides in plant protection in the Community are regulated under Council Directive 91/414/EEC.
From the end of 2003, the European Food Safety Authority deals with risk assessment issues and the European Commission is responsible for the risk management decision.
The standards of this assessment and the policy of their use are constantly improved in a number of expert groups and documented in guidance documents.
The information given on this website, together with the information provided by the competent authorities in Member States, is intended to provide a maximum of transparency on the decision making procedure.
See also: Pesticide residues