Among the European Union’s progress on food safety is the legislation on maximum residue levels of pesticides in food (EC regulation no. 396/05 and subsequent amendments): it is the most stringent in the world, and has led in recent years, 700 substances out of 1000 have been withdrawn from the market. And the regime will be further tightened in June 2011, with the application of the latest rules on the approval of certain “pesticides”.
Controls are carried out on food products produced in Europe, but also on those of non-European origin. Since January of this year, controls at EU customs have been strengthened with specific measures on products of plant origin identified as at risk (EC regulation no. 669/09).
The controls are carried out in the Customs Inspection Points, under the responsibility of the member countries and the supervision of the European Commission. The list of “at risk” plants – based on the results of inspections, alerts and investigative activities by the Commission and the States – is reviewed periodically, every quarter.
About 13,600 shipments of imported non-EU fruit and vegetables were checked between January and August 2010. Of these, 10 percent were subjected to analyzes and 10 percent of the products analyzed were found to be non-compliant.