The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published an opinion on the possible health risks from certain proposed residue levels of pesticides in food and feed.

EFSA’s evaluation is a first step in the full harmonisation of national Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides in the 27 EU member states. MRLs that are considered safe for the population in one member state may not necessarily be safe for the others due to different food consumption habits across Europe. An EU risk assessment of national MRLs is therefore necessary before MRLs can be included in EU legislation to ensure they do not pose unacceptable risks to consumers across Europe.

EFSA performed an initial risk assessment screening of the proposed temporary MRLs based on available data provided by the Commission. According to the risk assessment, 92 of the 236 active substances (ingredient compounds used in pesticides) evaluated by EFSA were unlikely to present a risk to consumers. For the remaining 144 substances, the first screening could not exclude a potential consumer risk.More work will now be carried out on these substances by the member states and the Commission with a view to establishing temporary MRLs. EU-wide MRLs are already established for about 250 active substances.

The full EFSA opinion and Annexes are available at: www.efsa.europa.eu/en/science/praper/maximum_residue_levels.html .