STC Number - 335

EU testing of pesticide residues

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: India
Supported by: Pakistan; Viet Nam
First date raised: July 2012 G/SPS/R/67, paras. 24-26
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/EU/22
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Food safety; Human health
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2012, India expressed concerns over the EU notification which proposed to include in Annex I of Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005 new fruits, vegetables and cereals that had become available on the EU market (G/SPS/N/EU/22). In the modified regulation, paddy rice would be tested for residues instead of the whole rice grain. Testing for MRLs was usually undertaken on the food ready for consumption. In the case of rice, which could not be consumed raw, testing should be on the whole grain rice instead of the paddy rice. Paddy rice would always have higher levels of pesticide residues as pesticides were sprayed directly on it, but paddy rice was not directly consumed. This was recognized, for example, in Part 180, title 40 of the US Code of Federal Regulations on "Tolerances and Exemptions for Pesticide Chemical Residues in Food". Exporters would find it more difficult than necessary to meet the proposed EU requirements, thereby impacting trade, and India requested that the European Union provide its scientific justification for the proposed change. Pakistan and Viet Nam expressed their interest in the issue.
The European Union explained that the reason for the proposed changes was to respond to consumers' demands to include new fruit, vegetables and cereals which had more recently become available on the EU market, and to modify the parts of products on which the residues should be analysed. The European Union had not modified any practices on testing of pesticides residues. On the contrary, the rules had been made more transparent for all trade partners through the publication of all available validation methods for pesticide residues and by providing, through WTO channels, information on all activities related to the regulation. After consideration of comments received and further exchanges with stakeholders, the European Union had decided to keep the current practice concerning rice, which meant that residues would be analysed on the whole grain product and not paddy rice. The EU underlined that its legislative procedure was non-discriminatory, transparent and able to take third country requests favourably into consideration, as in this case.