September 1st sees the coming into force of new European legislation on the legal amount of pesticide residues allowed in our food. The legislation aims to standardise the permitted levels across Europe, which previously differed from country to country. The Commission believes this will ensure better consumer protection and improve trade and import.

In the meantime Greenpeace Germany, with the support of Austrian environmental NGOs, published a study last week stating that several hundred of the maximum residue limits now allowed on fruit and veg are too high. This in turn has prompted environmental pressure groups Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Natuur en Milieu to file an appeal against the European Commission. Their legal action aims to firstly get the Commission to review its stand on the new harmonized maximum residue levels (MRLs), and secondly to have their arguments taken more seriously in future, and earlier on in the policy making process.

This Commission has already responded to the findings of Greenpeace’s study saying it was “based on crude, outdated and imprecise information”. The Commission has more information on their site regarding this legislation including a fact sheet on MRLs, plus it has issued a press release on the new regulation.

For more information and background reading visit EurActiv.

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