As the people directly responsible for food safety and product stewardship at BASF Crop Protection, we would like to avail of this opportunity to explain why agricultural products, treated with plant protection products, are safe for human consumption:
- The reality is that plant protection products are some of the world’s most strictly regulated substances. Like human medicines, our products undergo the strictest regulatory requirements where safety is paramount.
- Plant protection products and their residues do not pose any risk whatsoever to consumers when farmers use them correctly, according to label instructions, prominently displayed on each and every product. This is mandatory for registration before any product is deemed eligible for entry to the market.
- Dietary risk assessment, carried out by independent authorities, must demonstrate that any residues, remaining after plant protection products are used, are strictly within the levels deemed safe for consumers. These assessments are conducted under absolutely worst-case scenarios with very high safety margins factored in.
- In addition to these scientific safety levels, trading standards also apply. Called Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), trading standards verify that farmers are using plant protection products correctly, according to label instructions. They vary not only from crop to crop but also frequently from country to country as local factors such as agricultural practices, pest pressure and climate are taken into account. Correct use of plant protection products is rigorously monitored via the MRLs and usually takes place at different stages in the food value chain; directly by farmers at harvest-time, by food traders and processors as well as supermarkets and regulatory authorities.
- Thus, an exceedance of the MRL does not equal a consumer safety risk as its purpose is to verify the correct use of a product.
- BASF Crop Protection Division never compromises on safety and is 100 percent committed to demonstrating that its solutions are safe for consumers and for its customers.
All of us at BASF work diligently on a daily basis to ensure the safety and quality of our products. For example, we invest significantly in training to enable farmers to work in a safe environment and produce safe food. However, we know that we need to do more to earn public confidence. We are committed to listening to consumer concerns, explaining our approach and being transparent about what we do.
In that spirit of open, two-way exchange, we are happy to debate this topic and answer any questions you may have regarding food safety and the use of our crop protection products in farming.