This website uses non-intrusive cookies to improve your user experience. You can visit our cookie privacy page for more information.

Beta This is a new way of showing guidance - your feedback will help us improve it.

UK enforcement of maximum residue levels (MRLs) set for Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) and Didecyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride (DDAC)

Brexit: Transition period

The UK has now left the EU. Your health and safety responsibilities have not changed in the transition period.

Find the latest information on our Brexit pages

Regulatory Update: 15/2015
Issued: 13th August 2015


On 6 August the Chemicals Regulation Directorate issued a letter setting out the UK’s approach to the monitoring and enforcement of MRLs set for DDAC and BAC which come in to force from 12 August 2015.

The letter was initially sent to stakeholders who attended a meeting with CRD and FSA officials on 17 July. However, given the widespread use of DDAC and BAC as biocides in food processing and preparation, this regulatory update has been issued to draw wider attention to the content of the letter.

The letter sets out the background to the setting of MRLs , the UK’s approach to monitoring and enforcement, how the MRLs apply with respect to processed foods, and the importance of food businesses reviewing their treatment practices to ensure compliance whilst maintaining food hygiene standards. Food businesses should take note of the full content of the letter, but important points are summarised below.

Revised MRLs in force from 12 August 2015

Revised statutory MRLs 0.1 mg/kg for DDAC and BAC residues will be enforced from 12 August 2015 and apply to all foods produced from that date. All parties involved in the processing, preparation, distribution or sale of food must comply with the levels set. However foods that were already in the distribution chain before 12 August will continue to be subject to non-statutory guideline MRLs of 0.5 mg/kg.

UK approach to monitoring and enforcement action

DDAC and BAC residue monitoring will be included in HSE’s routine programme of monitoring, and results will be published by the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) in the normal way.

Application of BAC and DDAC MRLs to processed foods

The MRLs set will apply to all foods irrespective of whether they have been processed. In most cases HSE will not apply processing factors in determining whether the MRL has been complied with.

Food Safety and Rapid Alerts

Because MRLs are set below any level likely to cause harm to the consumer, if a residue is found above the MRL this will not automatically result in a rapid alert notification being issued.

Both HSE and the FSA recognise the importance of biocide use in maintaining food safety and encourage all food businesses to review their uses of DDAC and BAC to ensure compliance with MRLs.

Contact Details

If you have any queries concerning this update, please contact us.

Further Information


Updated 2019-11-19