An introduction to Food Safety:
- When approving pesticides and plant protection products our purpose is to protect the health of consumers, users and the environment.
- When we approve pesticides we expect that small amounts (residues) will usually turn up in food supplies. They are also expected to turn up in the environment and drinking water.
- We set conditions of use to ensure that these residues are not at levels which may cause harm.
- We also set legal limits on residues in food. These are known as maximum residue levels or MRLs.
- The main role of MRLs is to regulate trade in treated food. They indicate that any pesticide was applied to crops or foodstuffs in accordance with the conditions of use set by the UK approval (or equivalent overseas).
- The law prohibits suppliers from circulating produce containing more than a specified amount of residue.
- The Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) monitors levels of residues in food.
- PRiF adopts a risk-based approach to monitoring (targeting the foodstuffs most likely to contain residues).
- If monitoring programmes suggest that pesticides are not being applied in accordance with the approved conditions of use we will consider taking enforcement action.