Pesticides – or plant protection products – are a reality of modern times. These chemicals must be strictly regulated to ensure their use does not harm human and animal health and the environment.
How do we do this?
The European Union has an authorisation procedure involving three partners: EFSA, the European Commission and Member States. Pesticide applications from industry pass along a chain formed of these three parties – with each one carrying out specific tasks. EFSA's role is to carry out risk assessments of pesticides and to provide the European Commission and Member States with scientific support in the decision-making process.
How does this work?
SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT
- Step 1. Approval of active substances
- Step 2. Authorisation of pesticides
- Step 3. Monitoring of pesticides
A company submits an application
for approval of an active substance to a Member State. The application contains supporting scientific information and studies.
vs Active substances
Pesticides and active substances are different. Pesticides – or plant protection products – are chemical compounds used to protect crops by killing or controlling pests or weeds.
Active substances – such as chemicals or micro-organisms – are the essential ingredients in the pesticide that enable the product do its job.
The Member State
evaluates the application.
EFSA then peer reviews the Member State's
assessment of the active substance.
On the basis of EFSA's review, the European Commission and
Members States decide whether
to authorise the active substance.
The European Commission makes a proposal on whether or not to approve the application. A special committee of Member State representatives then votes on this proposal. A new active substance is usually approved for 10 years, while an application for renewal of approval can be granted for up to 15 years.
A company applies to put a pesticide
containing an approved active substance
on the market.
The Member State receiving the application assesses it. This assessment includes a proposal for the maximum residue level (MRL).
If the proposed MRL is covered by existing legislation, the application then goes to the European Commission. If not…
EFSA assesses the proposed MRL and passes on its opinion to the European Commission.
The European Commission decides whether to accept the proposed MRL.
If it does, the Member State
can then authorise the pesticide.
For pesticide authorisation, the EU is split into three zones: North, South and Centre. Countries with similar agricultural, plant health and environmental conditions are grouped together.
When a pesticide is authorised for use in one Member State, its use is also allowed in other Member States of the same zone (mutual recognition).
A company brings the pesticide to market.
EFSA drafts the EU annual report of pesticide residues in food. This can include proposals to review MRLs.
The European Commission and
Members States consider MRL
proposals for approval.
This is how Europe works together
to protect consumers.
Independent scientific advice on food and feed safety
EFSA is the keystone of EU risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientiﬁc advice and clear communication on existing and emerging risks.