REPONSE Question parlementaire E-002189-19 de Daniel Buda (PPE) - 27 000 tonnes de semences de tournesols avec des niveaux de pesticides excessifs

Niveau juridique : Union européenne

  • Texte de la question, en date du 9-07-2019

Inspectors from ConstanČ›a’s Plant Health Office have discovered over 27 000 tonnes of sunflower seeds containing excess levels of the fungicide metalaxyl. The seeds were intended for export to Turkey and Portugal. Almost 12 tonnes originating from two economic operators in Romania have already been delivered to Portugal and been processed.

The inspections came after the European Feed and Food Ingredients Safety Certification organisation (EFISC-GTP) issued a series of warnings of a risk of excess levels of metalaxyl in seeds from Romania. Following that warning, inspectors from Romania’s National Plant Health Authority located the 27 000 tonnes of seeds and impounded them in a warehouse in the port of ConstanČ›a. Sixty tonnes will be incinerated and the rest processed into industrial grade oil.

What tools does the Commission have at its disposal to prevent such exports?

  • Réponse du 27-08-2019 :

Seeds that are produced for food or feed purposes must comply with maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticides set at Union level.The MRLs ensure that consumers are not exposed to harmful levels of pesticides(1).

Member States shall carry out risk-based controls to ensure that food placed on the market is compliant with MRLs. As part of an EU-coordinated monitoring programme in combination with national monitoring programmes of the Member States, more than75000 food samples are analysed for over 600 different pesticides every year.

According to the latest report on the results of the monitoring programme(2) on data collected in 2017 (88000 samples from EUMember States plus Iceland and Norway), 95.9% of all analysed samples were either free of quantifiable residues or contained tracesnot exceeding the MRLs.

The MRLs were exceeded in only 4.1% of samples. More specifically, out of 761samples of seeds that were analysed for metalaxyl-M,4 samples (0.53%) were found to contain residues below the MRLs, while no MRL exceedance was identified.

Exports of food and feed to non-EU countries, such as Turkey, although not subject to EU MRLs need to respect Article12 of thegeneral food law(3) (ban of exporting unsafe food and feed) and in any case must comply with the applicable legislation establishedby the non-EU country.