Scientific risk assessment of pesticides in the European Union (EU): EFSA contribution to on-going reflections by the EC
This document summarises the input that EFSA has provided to the European Commission in the context of the REFIT process of the EU pesticides legislation and that EFSA has provided to the EC Scientific Advice Mechanism in response to questions about the scientific assessment of pesticides. It provides a number of reflections about the process for the scientific assessment of Plant Protection Products in the EU, including considerations about the strengths of the current system and areas for possible improvement. The paper considers the separation between scientific risk assessment and risk management decision making as a strength of the system, as well as the direct involvement in the process of the network of Member State (MS) risk assessment organisations coordinated by EFSA. The paper explores options to extend the EU-level assessment of active substances to include Plant Protection Products and relevant co-formulants. This could be done through a system that allows the integration of national requirements and the consideration of the agricultural and environmental diversity of the EU and its Member States. These reflections are provided solely on the basis of EFSA’s experience of implementing – at a technical level – the scientific assessment of Plant Protection Products in the EU and do not take into account other policy or decision-making factors that may be relevant in ongoing discussions by policy makers about possible changes to the EU pesticide legislation.