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Plant Protection - Introduction

EU legislation regulates the marketing and use of plant protection products and their residues in food.

Council Directive 91/414/EEC concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market lays down rules and procedures for approval of the active substances at EU-level and for the authorisation at Member State level of plant protection products (PPPs) containing these substances. This Directive states that substances cannot be used in plant protection products unless they are included in a positive EU list. Once a substance is included in the positive list Member States may authorise the use of products containing them.

Pesticides residues in food are regulated by Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 pdf. The legislation covers the setting, monitoring and control of pesticides residues in products of plant and animal origin that may arise from their use in plant protection.

The maximum levels set are those consistent with good agricultural practice in Member States and third countries. The levels are set after an evaluation of any risks to consumers of different age groups and they are only set if they are considered safe. Nonetheless, MRLs exceedences are closely monitored, evaluated and communicated to the authorities in the Member States through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed whenever there is a potential risk to consumers.

Both Directive 91/414 on the placing on the market of plant protection products and Regulation 396/2005 on pesticide residues in food and feed aim at a high level of protection of human health and the environment.