EU Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) - Basic Guidance
Brexit: Transition period
The UK has now left the EU. Your health and safety responsibilities have not changed in the transition period.
A key part of the process by which plant protection products are approved/authorised is an assessment of risks to consumers, and there are robust controls which govern the level of residues permitted in food. Statutory Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) are set on an EU-wide basis under EC Regulation 396/2005. They apply to all foods that are placed on the EU market, irrespective of whether they have been produced inside or outside the Union.
Key points to note:
- MRLs reflect the highest amount of residues expected in food when plant protection products are applied correctly in accordance with authorised conditions of use. It is important to note that MRLs are not safety limits, and are always set below, often far below, levels that would present a risk to consumers.
- EU MRLs apply to most foods, with the current exception of fish, fish products, and foods grown exclusively as animal feeds.
- Rigorous risk assessments support the MRLs set, and make sure that all classes of consumers, including vulnerable ones such as babies and children, are sufficiently protected. This includes a full assessment of data on the level of residues resulting from their use, and on the toxicology of the pesticide.
- All businesses involved in food production, importation, distribution and sale must comply with the statutory EU MRLs set. This requirement is backed up by a substantial programme of official testing for residues in food and drink.
- Details of the EU MRLs set can be found in the UK MRLs database.
- MRLs do not apply to some plant protection products, which are listed in Annex IV of Regulation 396/2005. The list can be seen on the first page of the UK MRL database.
- If a substance comes within the definition of a plant protection product but specific MRLs have not been set for it, default EU MRLs of 0.01 mg/kg will apply.
- Details for how to apply for the setting of new or revised EU MRLs are available on the applicant advice webpages.
- UK MRL database
- EU MRLs database
- Link to PRiF website on Gov.uk
(Government monitoring scheme for pesticide residues in food)
- Applicant advice
- MRLs - Potential changes to MRLs under EC Regulation 396/2005
- MRLs - Latest Published Commission Regulations under Regulation 396/2005
- Pesticides A-Z
- Reporting Incidents
- Contacting CRD
- Regulatory Updates Index
- Information Updates Index
- Codes of Practice
- Pesticide/Plant Protection Product Databases
- Application forms
- Handling pesticide investigation and concerns