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New rules on pesticide residues bring Europe into line



As of the first of September all member states of the European Union have had to observe the same maximum residue limits or MRLs (the highest level of a pesticide residue that is legally tolerated in food and feed) for 1100 pesticides currently or formerly used in 315 agricultural products. These MRLs also apply to processed products, adjusted to take account of dilution or concentration during processing.

Until now different MRLs could apply to the same pesticide for the same crop in different member states, a situation which gave rise to considerable confusion and did not comply with the commission’s aim that food produced or imported in one member state must be safe (ie have the lowest possible residues) for consumers in all of them.


A free and easily accessible database can now be consulted on the European Commission's website to search for the MRL applicable to each crop and pesticide: European Commission on Pesticide Residues

More environmental research reports

First Published in October 2008

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