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Source: European Parliament

Seeds that are produced for food or feed purposes must comply with maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticides set at Union level. The MRLs ensure that consumers are not exposed to harmful levels of pesticides(1).

Member States shall carry out risk-based controls to ensure that food placed on the market is compliant with MRLs. As part of an EU-coordinated monitoring programme in combination with national monitoring programmes of the Member States, more than 75 000 food samples are analysed for over 600 different pesticides every year.

According to the latest report on the results of the monitoring programme(2) on data collected in 2017 (88 000 samples from EU Member States plus Iceland and Norway), 95.9% of all analysed samples were either free of quantifiable residues or contained traces not exceeding the MRLs.

The MRLs were exceeded in only 4.1% of samples. More specifically, out of 761 samples of seeds that were analysed for metalaxyl-M, 4 samples (0.53%) were found to contain residues below the MRLs, while no MRL exceedance was identified.

Exports of food and feed to non-EU countries, such as Turkey, although not subject to EU MRLs need to respect Article 12 of the general food law(3) (ban of exporting unsafe food and feed) and in any case must comply with the applicable legislation established by the non-EU country.

(1) Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin. OJ L 70, 16.3.2005, p. 1‐16.
(2) EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), 2019. Scientific report on the 2017 European Union report on pesticide residues in food. EFSA Journal 2019;17(6):5743, 152 pp.
(3) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety. OJ L 31, 1.2.2002, p. 1.

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