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Questions and Answers on Residues of Plant Protection Products in Food

Updated BfR FAQ of 17 July 2015

Plant protection products, i.e. pesticides, are used to protect crops against harmful organisms. Even when authorised plant protection products are used properly and in line with their intended purposes, residues can remain in the harvested crops and in the processed plant commodities used as food and feed. To ensure that levels of residues in food are not harmful for consumer health, either through lifelong daily food intake or short-term consumption of large portions of food, the BfR estimates a comprehensive risk assessment as part of the authorisation procedure and recommends maximum residue levels on the basis of this risk assessment. In addition, the determination of acceptable quantities of an active substance in food items follows the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable).

Maximum residue levels are the maximum concentrations permitted in foods and animal feeds of the active substances contained in plant protection products and their degradation products. They are not determined solely on the basis of the health risk assessment but also take into account good agricultural practice. Compliance with a maximum residue level is the decisive factor when determining whether a food is fit for sale or must be removed from the market.

In this context, the BfR has compiled frequently asked questions regarding the authorisation of plant protection products, the setting of maximum residue levels and the possible consequences if these levels are exceeded.



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Updated BfR FAQ
Questions and Answers on Residues of Plant Protection Products in Food 64.0 KB


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