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Food Safety

Maximum Residue Levels

The traces pesticides leave in treated products are called "residues".

A maximum residue level (MRL) is the highest level of a pesticide residue that is legally tolerated in or on food or feed when pesticides are applied correctly (Good Agricultural Practice).

Key points

  • The amounts of residues found in food must be safe for consumers and must be as low as possible.
  • The European Commission fixes MRLs for all food and animal feed
  • The MRLs for all crops and all pesticides can be found in the MRL database on the Commission website.

Related links


In its scientific opinion, EFSA found that current levels of chlorate in drinking water and in foods were too high.

EU legislation on MRLs

EU legislation harmonises and simplifies pesticide MRLs, and sets a common EU assessment scheme for all agricultural products for food or animal feed.

Guidelines - Maximum Residue levels

Technical Guidance, Procedural guidance and Monitoring information

How are EU MRLs set?

Applicants e.g. producers of plant protection products, farmers, importers, EU or non-EU countries must submit the data for the setting of MRLs for...

Who does what?

Risk assessment, Setting MRLs, Enforcement & control, Non-EU imported crops