Pesticide residue regulation

Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council harmonises and simplifies European legislation as regards the maximum levels of pesticide residues, and contributes to maintaining the high level of the protection of consumers' health and free movement of goods. In addition, the Regulation lays down a consistent procedure for establishing maximum residue levels in the EU, and clarifies the responsibility areas and roles of different authorities. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is in charge of risk assessments together with the Member States, while the European Commission establishes the MRLs based on EFSA's opinion.

The authorisation of plant protection products (PPP) still takes place at national level. In Finland, PPPs are authorised by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes. However, authorisation can only be granted to PPPs whose active substance is authorised in the EU. Moreover, the maximum residue level (MRL) of the PPP, covering any residues resulting from the use of the PPP, shall have been set for the plant for which the PPP is intended.

The Regulation obliges Member States to implement a residue control programme coordinated by the EU for the monitoring of compliance with the MRLs. Information is also collected within the programme to EFSA for purposes of a risk assessment of the exposure of European people to pesticide residues.

Annexes I and II-V which define the products to which the maximum pesticide residue levels are applied (Annex I) as well as uniform MRLs for plant products, products of animal origin, and feed (Annexes II-V) are relevant in terms of residue control. Annex VI has not yet been published. Annex I has been amended several times. Legislation is discussed in more detailed on the Legislation page.

A default value of 0.01 mg/kg is applied to all active substance/product combinations for which it has not been possible to set a safe MRL.

Products and the maximum residues of different pesticides in them are listed in EU's pesticide database.