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Change to the procedure for processing import tolerance applications

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Regulatory Update: 11/2015
Issued: 4th August 2015


This Regulatory Update indicates changed arrangements for processing import tolerance applications in the EU.

What the changes mean for applicants

There are now additional EU-agreed requirements to be met by an applicant for an import tolerance, relating to importation of pesticide product-treated produce into the EU from any non-EU country. Applicants must submit proof that the product is authorised for use in that non-EU country and indicate the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) relating to that product and produce that is in force in the country of export.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will now only consider an import tolerance application once this information is provided.

HSE’s Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD), as the UK regulatory authority, will continue to accept import tolerance applications without this additional information and will proceed with the evaluation in accordance with the processing timescales outlined on the HSE pesticides website . However, recognising EFSA 's position, CRD will only submit the final evaluation to EFSA once provided with proof of authorisation of the product in the country of export, and the relevant MRL in force in that country.


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 to plants (or their products) in accordance with Good Agricultural Practice. Where an MRL is required to cover the import into the EU of food of plant and animal origin, but there is no existing EU MRLs to cover the situation, then an import tolerance application is required. The applicant should complete the MRL application form and the ‘Template Evaluation Report’: Link to EU Commission guidelines for MRLs

When CRD receives an application for an import tolerance, we evaluate the data and submit the final ‘evaluation report’ to EFSA for peer review, requesting either a new MRL or a change to an existing MRL.

HSE CRD’s approach to the changes

HSE CRD will accept and start work on import tolerance applications while waiting for the applicant to provide the proof of authorisation in the country of export and the associated MRL.

However, if the required information is not provided by the time our evaluation has been completed, then the application will be closed. The applicant will be advised that the evaluation report can only be submitted to EFSA once the proof of authorisation in the country of export, and the associated MRL, are provided.

Subsequently, once this information is available, a new ‘administrative application’ will be required. This further application will be charged the appropriate total fee (comprising a sift fee and an administrative fee), as published on the HSE website . As part of this process the evaluation report will be quickly checked to ensure the original assessment remains valid, before being submitted to EFSA.

Relevant legislation

Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament, and of the Council, of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin, and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC.

When does this apply?

The requirements have been implemented by EEFSA already. For import tolerance applications currently under evaluation in CRD, we will now request the information from the applicant prior to completion of the assessment. For all import tolerance applications received by CRD from hereon, the above arrangements will apply.

Contact Information

If you have any questions relating to this Regulatory Update, please contact us: Link to Contact details page

Updated 2016-12-01