Residues of plant protection products
Pesticide residues (including plant protection products) are residues of active substances that are used or were used in plant protection products, including metabolites and/or degradation or reaction products of active substances present in food or feed, especially those generated by use related to plant protection, in veterinary medicine or as biocides.
Maximum residue levels of plant protection products
All PPPs that have been used or are being used in Member States are subject to a single EU legislation determining the maximum residue levels in food and feed.
Prior to the authorisation of PPPs in the Member States, the maximum residue levels must be established in the EU Regulation for all uses, that is, for combinations of crops and PPPs for which PPPs will be used.
The European Commission shall establish the maximum residue levels (MRL) of plant protection products on the basis of an application and documentation attached by applicant.
The applicant submits an application in one of the Member States at the same time and together with the evaluation of the active substance in the PPP or independently for residues only. The process is similar to that of the evaluation of an active substance in the EU. The Member State evaluates the documentation and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides an opinion on the basis of which the European Commission drafts a proposal. A Member State's proposal is decided on by the Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed. Following the decision, the Commission publishes the maximum residue levels in the Official Journal of the EU and in the EU Pesticides Database.
The European Commission establishes the maximum levels for the authorised use of PPPs. For unauthorised uses, the Commission determines the maximum levels based on the limit of quantification (LOQ). The Commission also determines the maximum levels based on the limit of quantification for PPPs no longer used in the EU, or for low-risk PPPs without residues.
Maximum Residue Levels and Import tolerances
Foods entering the EU from third countries must comply with maximum residue levels permitted in food and feed applicable in the EU. If the maximum levels for a certain combination of crops and PPP are not determined in the EU, an exporter from a third country may file an application for the determination of import tolerance in one of the Member States.
The procedure for determining import tolerances is the same as for determining maximum residue levels. The same form can be used as the form for EU applications.
Monitoring of plant protection product residues
Pesticide residues are subject to regular supervision. About 730 samples are taken annually and analysed for the presence of plant protection products. We draw up an annual plan harmonised with the EU multi-annual control programme and add additional samples typical of the food in Slovenia.
We draft an annual report based on the data on samples taken and analysed, and submit it to the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). The Agency publishes the report at the EU level.
The situation concerning PPP residues in foodstuffs in the 2013–2017 period is also summarised in the National Action Plan for achieving the sustainable use of PPPs.
- Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin
- Commission Directive 2002/63/EC establishing Community methods of sampling for the official control of pesticide residues in and on products of plant and animal origin
- Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/533 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2020, 2021 and 2022 to ensure compliance with maximum residue levels of pesticides and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin