As from 1 September 2008, rules relating to pesticides have been fully harmonized at EU level.
Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 simplifies and harmonizes the EU legal framework on maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides in products of plant and animal origin. The new pesticide MRLs are directly applicable.
All decision-making regarding pesticides has to be science-based and a consumer intake assessment has to be carried out by the European Food Safety Authority before deciding on the safety of an MRL.
The new pesticides framework is built on a system of Annexes to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005, which specify the MRLs and the products to which they apply. Fruits and vegetables are covered by the regulation.
If a pesticide is not included in any of the above mentioned Annexes the default MRL of 0,01 mg/kg applies. The AIJN is involved in the analysis and the definition of conversion factors of MRLs between fruit and vegetables and derived juices. The MRLs for all crops and all pesticides can be found in the MRL database on the European Commission website.
Annex I is the list of products to which the MRLs apply and was established by Commission Regulation (EC) No 178/2006. It contains 315 products, including fruits, vegetables, spices, cereals, animal products.
Annex II is the list of EU definitive MRLs and it consolidates the existing EU legislation before 1 September 2008. It specifies MRLs for 245 pesticides.
Annex III is the list of the so-called EU temporary MRLs. It is the result of the harmonisation process as it lists pesticides for which, before 1 September 2008, MRLs were only set at national level. It specifies MRLs for 471 pesticides.
Annex IV is the list of pesticides for which no MRLs are needed because of their low risk (52).
Annex V contains the list of pesticides for which a default limit other than 0,01 mg/kg will apply.
Annex VI contains the list of conversion factors of MRLs for processed commodities.
Annex VII contains a list of pesticides used as fumigants for which the Member States are allowed to apply special derogations before the products are placed on the market.