The European Commission has welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of amendments to a regulation aiming to harmonise at European level the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of pesticides permitted in products of plant and animal origin.

The amendments have also been approved by the European Council, which will enable the final adoption of the regulation by the Council in the next few months.

“This legislation provides for Europe-wide limits for pesticide residues on food products, providing reassurance and certainty for consumers and making trade easier within the EU. It also takes account of differences in diet across Europe and explicitly protects vulnerable groups like children,” said Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection.

The Commission said it will now develop implementing measures setting concrete Europe-wide maximum levels for permitted pesticide residues. All MRLs for pesticides will become harmonised after a transitional ‘phase-in’ period, and will in future only be set at the European level. An amendment added by the European Parliament is to take into account the cumulative effects of pesticides acting in a similar way. The Commission has already asked the European Food Safety Authority to develop methods for calculating such effects when setting MRLs.