SPS Topics: Maximum Residue Levels

Maximum pesticide residue levels (MRLs) are an important area of regulation to ensure access to effective and safe pesticides for farmers while also setting risk-based residue levels to protect consumers.  

Pesticides are regularly developed for ever more precise use on specific crops to address new and old pests that farmers face in changing climates and ecosystems. Individual countries may not be able to keep up with the regulation of this innovation, or their markets may be too small for industry to invest in registering new options. This situation leads to MRLs being set to a level not based in science or not consistent with good agricultural practices or not being set at all. Overly stringent MRLs that are not science-based are contrary to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement and can unnecessarily restrict trade.

AFSI supports efforts to build regulatory capacity in individual countries and regional economic communities to facilitate cooperative approaches to registering pesticides and setting MRLs, which helps facilitate farmers’ access to needed pesticides. AFSI encourages the adoption of import tolerances and Codex MRLs when appropriate, which can help reduce these trade barriers, especially in horticultural and specialty crops.

Learn more about the AFSI MRL program and MRL resources.

Major SPS Topics

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