Tag Archives: Pesticide

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > International dimension and enlargement

Accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/822/EC of 17 November 2003 on the accession of the European Community to the Codex Alimentarius Commission [Official Journal L 309, 26.11.2003].

Summary

Context

The Codex Alimentarius (or food code) is a joint programme of the FAO (the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the WHO (World Health Organisation), which lays down food health standards that serve as a reference for international trade in foodstuffs.

Since 1994 and the entry into force of the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), the legal relevance of the Codex standards has increased. Indeed these two Agreements make reference to those standards, meaning that the latter are used as the basis for the evaluation of national measures and regulations.

At present, all Member States of the European Union (EU), and, since the end of 2003, the European Community as such are members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which is the body in charge of updating the Codex.

This Decision concerns the application of the European Community to accede to the CAC, achieved in 2003. It is accompanied by a declaration on the exercise of competence between the European Community and its Member States and by the text of the Arrangement between the Council and the Commission regarding preparation for meetings and statements and the exercise of voting rights within the CAC.

Background to the accession negotiations

Since Article 2 of the CAC’s statutes authorises any FAO member to become a full member, the European Community started negotiations to that end in the mid-1990s.
In January 1994, the Council authorised the Commission to enter into negotiations, on behalf of the Community, with the CAC Secretariat with a view to defining the conditions and procedures for the Community’s accession.
Discussions between the Commission and Council had since then been blocked by Member State concerns about internal coordination and the division of responsibilities.
As a result of the White Paper on Food Safety, which reaffirmed the benefits of CAC membership, negotiations with the CAC Secretariat on accession conditions resumed during 2001.

In June 2003, the CAC amended its Rules of Procedure allowing regional economic integration organisations to become members, thus opening the way to the accession of the European Community alongside its Member States.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission: aims and mode of operation

The CAC was created by the WHO and FAO in 1963 to implement their Joint Food Standards Programme aimed at protecting the health of consumers, ensuring fair trade practices in the food trade and promoting coordination of all food standards work undertaken by governmental and international organisations.

Its main aim, then, is to define international standards, codes of practice and other guidelines and recommendations concerning agricultural and fishery products, foodstuffs, food additives, food contaminants, animal feed and the residues of veterinary products and pesticides as well as labelling, inspection and certification systems, analysis and sampling methods, ethics and good farming practice codes and food hygiene practices.
These standards are then published in one of the Codex’s 13 volumes:

  • general requirements and general requirements for food hygiene;
  • general texts on pesticide residues in food and maximum limits for same;
  • residues of veterinary drugs in foods;
  • foods for special dietary uses, including foods for infants and children;
  • processed and quick-frozen fruits and vegetables, fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • fruit juices;
  • cereals, pulses and derived products and vegetable proteins;
  • fats and oils and related products;
  • fish and fishery products;
  • meat and meat products;
  • soups and broths;
  • sugars, cocoa products and chocolate and miscellaneous products;
  • milk and milk products;
  • methods of analysing and sampling.

The CAC’S work also encourages food traders to voluntarily adopt ethical practices. To that end, the CAC has published a Code of ethics for international trade in food, which now forms part of the Codex.

The CAC currently comprises 171 countries and holds meetings every year. It is helped in developing its standards by subsidiary bodies, which include committees dealing with horizontal matters (for example, general principles, labelling, food hygiene, food additives and contaminants, etc.), committees dealing with vertical matters, i.e. specialising in one type of product (for example, milk and milk products, fish and fishery products, etc.), “task forces” dedicated to a particular task of limited duration and regional coordinating committees. In addition, the experts’ meetings organised and supported by the FAO and the WHO provide the essential scientific basis (risk assessment) for the CAC’S work and the publications resulting from their activities act as international references. There are three of these groups of experts, the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR), the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) and the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

Activities of the European Community and its Member States within the CAC

The CAC’s Rules of Procedure now allow a member organisation to share its voting rights with its Member States in accordance with their respective competences. When the member organisation is entitled to vote, the number of votes it may cast is equal to the number of Member States present when the vote is taken, hence the importance of Member States being present. This rule is the result of a compromise reached with developing countries, which, in the interests of fairness, could not accept the vote of a country not present being counted.

Competence is assigned as follows:

  • the European Community has exclusive competence for matters on which the rules have already been harmonised, either fully or to a large extent, at Community level. In such cases, the Commission speaks and votes in the name of the Community, although Member States have the right to speak in favour of the Community position and to react to contributions from other countries;
  • the Member States have exclusive competence for all organisational matters (for example, legal or budgetary questions) and for procedural matters (for example, the election of chairpersons, the adoption of agendas and the approval of minutes);
  • competence is shared where rules have been only partially harmonised: the vote is exercised either by the Member States or the Community, depending on the degree of harmonisation achieved. In such cases, the Presidency and the Commission put forward the common position. Member States may also speak in order to support and/or develop the Community position and to react to contributions.

Before each meeting of the CAC or of one of its subsidiary bodies, an annotated agenda, indicating who, within the organisation or its Member States, is competent for each item and is to exercise the right to vote, is drawn up and given to all participants.

In addition, the Member States and the Commission have the right to participate in the Codex working groups and drafting committees and express their opinions there. Member State and Commission representatives endeavour to reach a common position and defend this during discussions in the working groups and drafting committees,

The HACCP principles (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and the Codex Alimentarius

The measures taken by the EU with regard to food safety and food frequently invoke the Codex as justification. This is true particularly of the HACCP principles, which are the basis of European legislation relating to food hygiene and official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

These principles, developed by the CAC since the early 1990s, prescribe a number of stages to be followed throughout the production cycle in order to allow, on the basis of a risk analysis, the identification of critical points that need to be monitored to ensure food safety:

  • identification of all risks to be avoided, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels;
  • identification of the critical or limit points where surveillance becomes essential;
  • establishment and application of effective procedures for monitoring critical points;
  • adoption of corrective measures when monitoring reveals a critical point is being overstepped.

Relationship between the WTO and the Codex Alimentarius

When the WTO was set up in April 1994, two specific agreements were concluded in Marrakech to restrict barriers to trade justified on the basis of protectionist technical regulations:

  • the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement);
  • the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement).

The SPS Agreement lays down the conditions on which a State can adopt and implement health measures (animal health, food safety) or phytosanitary measures (protection of plants) that have a direct or indirect impact on international trade. This Agreement makes explicit reference to the standards defined by the Codex to impose limits on the actions of the signatory States.
Thus the preamble to this Agreement declares itself in favour of furthering “the use of harmonized sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Members, on the basis of international standards, guidelines and recommendations developed by the relevant international organisations, including the Codex Alimentarius Commission”.

The TBT Agreement aims to guarantee that technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to international trade. It too makes extensive reference to international standards, though without explicitly citing the Codex, in the context of the harmonisation that it advocates.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2003/822/EC 17.11.2003 OJ L 309 of 26.11.2003

Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs

Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Plant health checks

Maximum pesticide limits for food products for human consumption and animal feedingstuffs

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EEC [See amending acts].

Summary

The Regulation establishes the maximum quantities of pesticide residues permitted in products of animal or vegetable origin intended for human or animal consumption. These maximum residue levels * (MRLs) include, on the one hand, MRLs which are specific to particular foodstuffs intended for human or animal consumption and, on the other, a general limit which applies where no specific MRL has been set.

The objective is to ensure that pesticide residues in foodstuffs do not constitute an unacceptable risk for consumer and animal health.

Foodstuffs concerned

The Regulation covers all products intended for human or animal consumption listed in Annex I.

These products are not subject to the set limits if they are intended for sowing or planting, authorised tests on active substances, manufacture of non-food products, or export outside the European Union.

Default limit and specific limits

The maximum pesticide residue level in foodstuffs is 0.01 mg/kg. This general limit is applicable ‘by default’, i.e. in all cases where an MRL has not been specifically set for a product or product type.
Some of the specific MRLs listed in Annex II are higher than the default limit.

In some cases, provisional MRLs may be set and should then be listed in Annex III. Provisional MRLs should in particular be set in the following cases:

  • for honey and herbal infusions;
  • in certain exceptional circumstances of contamination by plant protection products;
  • for national MRLs which have not yet been harmonised;
  • where new products are listed in Annex I and a Member State requests it, in order to have enough time for a comprehensive scientific assessment and provided that no risk to the consumer has been detected.

Products which do not comply with the fixed limits may not be diluted except in the case of certain processed and/or composite products listed by the Commission (Annex VI).

Exceptions to the limits

Certain substances listed by the Commission (Annex VII) may be authorised even if they exceed their MRL, if they meet the following conditions:

  • the products concerned are not intended for immediate consumption;
  • controls are in place to ensure that these products are not made available to the consumer;
  • the other Member States and the Commission are informed of the measures.

In exceptional cases, products which do not comply with the limits set in Annexes I and II may be authorised by a Member State if the products do not represent an unacceptable risk. The Member State must immediately inform the Commission, the other Member States and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) so that the appropriate measures may be taken as quickly as possible (provisional MRL, etc.).

Certain active substances are not subject to any residue limit. These are the active substances present in the plant protection products assessed pursuant to Directive 91/414/EEC (on the placing of plant protection products on the market) and for which no MRL was considered necessary. They are listed in Annex IV, which the Commission is to draw up within 12 months of the entry into force of this Regulation.

Setting, amending and removing MRLs

For a plant protection product to be placed on the market pursuant to Directive 91/414/EEC, the active substances which it contains should be assessed in order to determine the threshold above which their concentration in food products presents a risk for humans and animals.

This Regulation establishes the procedure for MRL applications. Such applications must be submitted to the Member State, which communicates them to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Risk assessment is the responsibility of the EFSA, which decides on each intended new MRL, amendment or removal (except in the case of removals resulting from an authorisation of a plant protection product being revoked). The EFSA issues an opinion including the anticipated limit of determination * for the pesticide/commodity combination, and a risk assessment for cases where the admissible daily intake is exceeded.

Based on the EFSA’s opinion, the Commission issues a Regulation to establish a new MRL or to amend or remove an existing MRL.

Checking of MRLs

Based on Community and national multi-annual programmes updated every year, the Member States carry out checks on pesticide residues to ensure compliance with the MRLs. These checks entail taking samples, analysing them and identifying the pesticides and respective pesticide levels present therein.

Context

Prior to this Regulation, each Member State applied its own maximum residue limits for pesticides. Previous European legislation set different limits for different kinds of product: fruit and vegetables (Directive 76/895/EEC), cereals (Directive 86/362/EEC), foodstuffs of animal origin (Directive 86/363/EEC) and plant products, including fruit and vegetables (Directive 90/642/EEC). This Regulation repeals all these Directives, proposing harmonised maximum limits for all foodstuffs instead. It includes the same level of protection for animal feedingstuffs. It is the first time that a common limit of this type is established at European level for all types of pesticide, without distinguishing between categories of food.

The use of active substances in plant protection products is one of the best methods of protecting vegetables from harmful organisms. This use can, however, cause residues to be present in treated products, in animals fed with those products and in honey produced by bees exposed to these substances. Care should therefore be taken to ensure that levels of these residues do not present unacceptable risks for human beings and, where appropriate, for animals.

The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health helps the Commission to reach decisions on the maximum limits applicable to pesticide residues. In the Member States, the designated national authorities manage contacts with the Commission, the EFSA, the other Member States and all the stakeholders affected by this Regulation.

Key terms used in the act

Maximum residue limit: maximum permitted concentration of the residue of a pesticide in or on foodstuffs for humans or animals;

Limit of determination: weakest concentration of residue that can be measured and recorded by a routine check using suitable methods.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 396/2005

5.4.2005

OJ L 70 of 16.3.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 178/2006

22.2.2006

OJ L 29 of 2.2.2006

Regulation (EC) No 149/2008

1.9.2008

OJ L 58 of 1.3.2008

Regulation (EC) No 260/2008

8.4.2008

OJ L 76 of 19.3.2008

Regulation (EC) No 299/2008

10.4.2008

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

Regulation (EC) No 839/2008

31.8.2008

OJ L 234 of 30.8.2008

Regulation (EC) No 256/2009

28.3.2009

OJ L 81 of 27.3.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EEC) No 396/2005 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionhas only documentary value.

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 915/2010 of 12 October 2010 concerning a coordinated multiannual control programme of the Union for 2011, 2012 and 2013 to ensure compliance with maximum levels of and to assess the consumer exposure to pesticide residues in and on food of plant and animal origin [Official Journal L 269 of 13.10.2010].

Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and animal welfare rules [Official Journal L 165 of 30 April 2004].

Directive 2002/63/EC establishing Community methods of sampling for the official control of pesticide residues in and on products of plant and animal origin [Official Journal L 187 of 16 July 2002].

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.

Regulation(EC) n° 689/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals.

Summary

The Rotterdam Convention was signed by the European Community on 11 September 1998. This Decision, approving the Rotterdam Convention on behalf of the European Community, is accompanied by a Council Regulation to implement the Convention’s provisions within the European Union (EU).

DECISION APPROVING THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION

Fundamental principle

The Convention regulates the import and the export of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. It is based on the fundamental principle of Prior Informed Consent (PIC), meaning that under the Convention, a chemical listed in the Convention may only be exported with the importer’s prior consent. The Convention establishes a procedure to disseminate the decisions taken by the importing countries, thus implementing the PIC principle in the international trade in chemicals. It contains provisions requesting detailed information on the chemicals so that these decisions may be taken once data are available on the properties and the incidence of these products in particular on human health and the environment.

Products concerned

The Convention applies to banned or severely restricted chemicals and to extremely hazardous pesticide formulations. Over 30 chemicals are currently subject to the PIC procedure.

However, certain products are excluded from the scope of the Convention, namely:

  • narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
  • radioactive materials;
  • waste;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • chemical weapons;
  • chemicals used as food additives;
  • food;
  • chemicals imported in quantities not likely to involve a risk provided they are imported for the purpose of research or analysis or by an individual for his or her own personal use.

Implementation of the Convention

Each Party must designate a national authority to ensure implementation at national and regional level. The Convention establishes a conference of the Parties which ensures implementation at international level and the evaluation of the Convention, including the approval of amendments. There is also a subsidiary body called the Chemical Review Committee (the Committee), which is responsible for analysing and assessing chemicals. The Secretariat is mainly responsible for coordination and administrative tasks.

Listing of hazardous chemicals and pesticides

Each Party must inform the Secretariat of any regulatory action adopted in respect of one or more chemicals or pesticides on its territory. Such notification must include information on the properties, identification and use of the chemical and its regulatory action. Where there are two notifications for the same chemical from at least two different regions, the Committee will review the information provided and, where appropriate, will recommend that the chemical in question be included in the list of chemicals subject to the Convention. Severely hazardous pesticides are subject to specific provisions. The Convention takes into consideration the fact that developing countries or countries with economies in transition have more limited means, and allows these countries to draw upon technical expertise from any source if they wish to include a pesticide in the list. The Committee will then review the information provided and may recommend the pesticide for listing.

The Conference of the Parties reviews the Committee’s recommendation and may take the final decision. It can also decide to remove a chemical from the Convention.

Imports

Each Party must specify whether or not it consents to the import into its territory of the hazardous chemicals or pesticides listed in the Convention. Parties may also decide to consent to import only subject to specified conditions. Interim decisions are also accepted. A Party that does not consent to the import of a chemical or that only consents under specified conditions must ensure that the import of the chemical from any source and the domestic production of the chemical for domestic use are made subject to the same conditions.

Exports

Each exporting Party must, of course, comply with the decisions of the other Parties relating to import authorisations. A chemical may not be exported to any Party that has failed to transmit a response or has transmitted an interim response. However, there are exceptions, for example where the importing Party has given its explicit consent to the import of the chemical in question.

In addition, the exporting Parties should assist importing Parties, upon request, to obtain further information and to strengthen their capacities to manage chemicals during their life-cycle.

Any exported chemical that is banned or severely restricted under the Convention must be accompanied by an export notification, and the importing Party must also acknowledge receipt of the chemical. The Convention contains provisions on the information that must accompany the chemicals, such as labelling requirements.

Exchange of information

The aim is to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals within the scope of the Convention, and to provide information on domestic regulatory actions in this area.

Technical assistance

Developing countries and countries with economies in transition may receive technical assistance from Parties which are more advanced in the area of chemical regulation.

Settlement of disputes

The Conference of the Parties draws up provisions on non-compliance with the Convention. With respect to dispute settlement, the Parties may resort to an arbitration procedure. A Party which is not a regional economic integration organisation may also submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Withdrawal from the Convention

A Party may withdraw from the Convention three years after the date on which it came into force. This will take effect upon expiry of at least one year from the date of receipt of the notification of withdrawal.

REGULATION CONCERNING EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

The purpose of the Regulation is to implement the provisions of the Rotterdam Convention within the European Community. It will ensure that the measures laid down in the Convention are adopted; at the same time, some of the provisions contained in the Regulation will go beyond what is required in the Convention.

Chemicals concerned

The scope of the Regulation is wider than that of the Convention. It covers certain hazardous chemicals, which are banned or severely restricted within the Community or a Member State. It also covers the classification, packaging and labelling of all exported chemicals.

Export procedure

The Regulation establishes the deadlines and obligations which will apply to the notification procedure. The system requires that each exporter submit one export notification each year before the first export of a chemical. The notifications will be entered in a centralised register.

The Regulation contains certain measures that are more stringent than those of the Convention. Under the Regulation, any chemical or pesticide that is banned or severely restricted within the Community, and any articles containing these chemicals, must be accompanied by a notification. In addition, explicit consent for export is required for any dangerous chemical or pesticide which is banned or severely restricted within the Community, where it qualifies for PIC notification, even if that chemical or pesticide is not subject to the provisions of the Convention and is not included in the list of products already subject to the PIC procedure. The Regulation also imposes minimum standards concerning, for instance, the useful life of exported chemicals or pesticides, and storage conditions. The measures on labelling and packaging are also more stringent.

Export measures will apply to exports to all countries and not just to those that have signed the Convention.

The Regulation provides for the possibility of completely banning the export of certain specific chemicals or pesticides.

Penalties

The penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation is determined by the Member States. These must be effective, proportional and dissuasive.

Exchange of information

The provisions are extended to all countries and the Regulation refers to European Community participation in an information network on capacity building set up by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Regulation requires regular reports to be drawn up on the quantities of exported chemicals and pesticides concerned. As regards the monitoring and evaluation of the functioning of the Regulation, Member States must regularly submit information to the Commission, which in turn will draw up regular reports on the subject.

Implementation

The implementing conditions are mostly laid down by the Convention. Each Member States must designate one or several national authorities to ensure that the Regulation is implemented at national level. The European Commission will be responsible for implementation at Community level; it will also play a coordinating role between the Member States and between the European Community and the institutions of the Convention. The Commission will also be responsible for amending the annexes. It will be assisted by a committee.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2006/730/EC

19.2.2002

OJ L 299 of 28.10.2006

Regulation (EC) No 689/2008

1.8.2008

OJ L 204 of 31.7.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Pesticides

Pesticides

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pesticides

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Contamination and environmental factors

Pesticides

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2009/128/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October 2009 establishing a framework for Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides.

Summary

Pesticides are used in agriculture, to regulate the growth of plants on non-agricultural land, or for other purposes (for example, biocide products used to preserve wood, as disinfectants, and for some domestic uses). They are also used to kill or combat pests.

Scope

This Framework Directive covers only pesticides which are plant protection products. It does not apply to biocide products.

Member States may apply the precautionary principle to restrict or prohibit the use of pesticides in specific circumstances or areas.

National Action Plans

National Action Plans shall contain objectives, measures and timetables to reduce risks of pesticide use on human health and the environment. They should also foster the use of alternative ecological approaches or techniques.

National Action Plans shall also include indicators to monitor the use of plant protection products containing active substances of particular concern.

Training, sales of pesticides, and information

Member States shall set up systems of training for professional users, distributors and advisors. This training shall be sanctioned by the obtaining of a certificate. These certificates shall attest that professional users, distributors and advisors have acquired sufficient knowledge regarding: the legislation in force, the dangers and risks associated with pesticides, means of detection and monitoring, procedures for preparing equipment, emergency action in case of accident, etc.

Persons selling pesticides for professional use must hold the aforementioned certificate.

Member States shall inform the public and promote information and awareness-raising programmes regarding the risks for human health, non-target organisms and the environment arising from pesticide use.

Inspection of pesticide application equipment

Pesticide application equipment used by professionals must be inspected every five years by bodies designated by Member States. From 2020, the frequency of inspections will increase to once every three years. The purpose of these inspections is to check that equipment functions reliably and that it is used properly for its intended purpose, ensuring that pesticides can be accurately dosed and distributed.

These inspections concern the following equipment: power transmission parts, pumps, agitation devices, tanks, measuring systems, control and regulation systems, pipes and hoses, filters, etc.

Aerial spraying of pesticides

The aerial spraying of pesticides is prohibited. Derogations are nevertheless possible where there is no viable alternative, or where aerial spraying has advantages in terms of reduced impacts on human health and the environment as compared with land-based application. If a derogation is granted, measures must be taken as regards information and protection.

Protection of the aquatic environment and drinking water

Member States shall adopt specific measures to protect the aquatic environment and drinking water supplies. These measures give priority to the use of the least toxic products, the most effective techniques, equipment limiting drift of products, and the establishment of buffer zones along surface waters. These measures also aim at reducing or prohibiting spraying near roads or railways, or surfaces likely to be contaminated by the seepage or run-off of surface water or groundwater.

Protection of sensitive areas

In certain sensitive areas, the use of pesticides is prohibited or strictly limited. This measure aims at protecting areas covered by the “Birds” and “Habitats” Directives, and areas used by the general public or by sensitive groups of the population (parks, public gardens, sports grounds, recreation grounds, etc.).

Integrated pest management

Integrated pest management prioritises the least dangerous solutions for health and the environment. Professionals must therefore take into consideration all plant protection methods in order to eradicate pests. They must in particular give priority to those which cause the least disruption to agricultural ecosystems and encourage natural pest control mechanisms. These general principles for integrated pest management will become obligatory from 1 January 2014.

Risk indicators

The Commission establishes harmonised indicators according to statistics collected by the Member States. These indicators allow trends in risks from pesticide use to be estimated.

Member States may use their own national indicators in addition to the indicators harmonised at Community level.

Context

The Framework Directive was originally one of two legislative proposals accompanying the 2006 Communication – A thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides. The other legislative proposal led to the adoption of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2009/128/EC

25.11.2009

14.12.2011

OJ L 309 of 24.11.2009

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

International trade in hazardous chemicals

International trade in hazardous chemicals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about International trade in hazardous chemicals

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single Market for Goods > Chemical products

International trade in hazardous chemicals

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EU) No. 649/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 July 2012 concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals.

Summary

The Regulation provides rules concerning the import of chemicals that are banned or severely restricted for use in the European Union (EU). Exporters shall be required to notify the export of chemicals subject to this Regulation before export can take place. Furthermore, the chemicals covered by the Rotterdam Convention, and chemicals that are banned or severely restricted in the European Union, cannot be exported without the consent of the importing countries.

This Regulation aims at ensuring that the provisions of the Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances shall also apply to all chemicals when they are exported from Member States to other Parties to the Convention or to other countries, except if these provisions are incompatible with the specific requirements of these Parties or other countries.

Chemicals concerned:

This Regulation covers:

  • certain hazardous chemicals that are subject to the prior informed consent procedure (the ‘PIC procedure’) under the Rotterdam Convention;
  • certain hazardous chemicals that are banned or severely restricted within the Union or a Member State; and
  • all chemicals when exported in so far as their classification, labelling and packaging are concerned.

Certain products are excluded from the scope of the Regulation, specifically:

  • narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
  • radioactive materials;
  • wastes;
  • chemical weapons;
  • food and food additives;
  • feedingstuffs;
  • genetically modified organisms;
  • medicinal products;
  • chemicals exported for the purpose of research or analysis in low quantities which do not present a risk to health or the environment.

National authorities

Each Member State shall designate one or more authority to carry out the administrative functions required by this Regulation.

European Chemicals Agency

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) shall assist the Commission by managing the technical, scientific and administrative aspects relating to the import and export of said products. It shall send, in particular, manufacturers’ notifications to non-EU importing countries, manage all related communications, and maintain a database of the notifications which shall be accessible on its website.

Notification and explicit consent procedure

This Regulation sets the time periods and obligations concerning the notification procedure and the explicit consent procedure depending on the category to which the chemical product belongs.

Imports

The Commission shall adopt a decision in the form of a final or interim response regarding the import of the chemical in question. Where a chemical is subject to additional or amended restrictions, the Commission shall adopt a revised import decision.

In the case of a chemical being banned or severely restricted, the Commission shall take this information into account in its import decision.

Exports

Exporters must comply with the decisions of other Parties concerning import. Export of a chemical to a Party which has not provided a response concerning the import of the chemical concerned is prohibited. However, the chemical may be exported if the importing Party has given explicit consent for the chemical in question.

Any export of a chemical which is banned or severely restricted by European Union legislation must be notified to the importing country and said country must acknowledge receipt of the notification in accordance with the Convention.

Exchange of information

The Commission, assisted by ECHA and the Member States, shall facilitate the provision of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals covered by this Regulation.

Technical assistance

The Commission, the designated national authorities of the Member States and ECHA shall cooperate in promoting technical assistance for the development of the infrastructure, the capacity and the expertise necessary to manage chemicals properly throughout their lifecycles, depending on the needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Penalties

The rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation shall be determined by Member States. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

Repeal

This Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No. 689/2008 with effect from 1 March 2014.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EU) No. 649/2012

16.8.2012

OJ L 201 of 27.7.2012