Did you know that MRLs are commercial standards, not safety standards?


Pesticides which are used by farmers to control pests and diseases can leave detectable traces of residues on crops when harvested. Maximum residues Limits (MRLs) are legally imposed limits for these remaining traces and they serve to verify whether pesticides have been correctly applied, according to label instructions.

Did you know that a typical residue of 0.1 mg per kilogram is equivalent to a fly on a 10 tons truck?

Before adoption in the EU, the European Food Standard Agency (EFSA) must confirm MRLs are safe for consumers but they are not safety standards per se. They are in fact commercial standards used around the world to monitor correct use of pesticides, and to permit movement of agricultural products, such as food and wine, within the EU and internationally.

In situations where pesticide residue levels are found to be above established MRLs, this indicates that farmers may not have strictly complied with label instructions. However, this does not mean these crops are unsafe for consumers, as MRLs are set far below levels at which pesticides could pose a potential risk.


For more information on MRLs we invite you to read EFSA's Reports on Pesticides Residues in food, ECPA's Report on Pesticide use and food safety or to download our FAQs.