Pesticide residues

Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (Host Government - China)

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) provides recommendations to the Codex Alimentarius Commission about maximum limits for pesticide residues for specific food items or groups of food.

A Codex Maximum Limit for Pesticide Residues (MRL) is the maximum concentration of pesticide residue (expressed as mg/kg), recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission to be legally permitted in or on food commodities and animal feeds. Foods derived from commodities that comply with MRLs are intended to be toxicologically acceptable and safe for human consumption.

Codex MRLs apply in international trade and are derived from evaluations conducted by the Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).

Existing Codex Standards

A number of standards relating to pesticide residues* have been endorsed and adopted into the international food code they include standards on:

  • Analysis of Pesticide Residues: Guidelines on Good Laboratory Practice in Pesticide Residue Analysis
  • Analysis of Pesticide Residues: Portion of Commodities to which Codex MRLS apply and which is analysed
  • Analysis of Pesticide Residues: Recommended Methods
  • Extraneous Maximum Residue Limits (EMRLs)
  • Methods of Sampling for Pesticide Residues for the Determination of Compliance with MRLs

* This is an indicative list only. For a full list of standards approved by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please consult its Official List of Standards

Last Meeting

The 46th Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues was held in Nanjing, China from 5-10 May 2014.

At this meeting the Committee agreed to recommend to the 37th Session of the Commission the following:

  • Draft and proposed draft MRLs for pesticide at Steps 8 and 5/8 with omission of Steps 6/7
  • Proposed draft revision to the Classification of Food and Feed at Step 5 – selected vegetable commodity groups (Group 015 - Pulses)

Other matters for adoption

  • Consequential amendments to MRLs for pesticides for “citrus fruits” and “lemons and limes” (inclusion of kumquats) due to the revision of the Classification of Food and Feed as per the fruit commodity groups
  • Revision of the Risk Analysis Principles applied by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues
  • Codex schedules and priority list of pesticides for evaluation by JMPR

Matters of Interest for the Commission

  • to request the 2014 JMPR to consider a few requirements when estimating MRLs for “citrus fruits” and “lemons and limes” with a view to including kumquats
  • to retain several draft and proposed draft MRLs for pesticides at Steps 7 and 4 awaiting for JMPR evaluations
  • to withdraw several draft and proposed draft MRLs for pesticides in view of the advancement of corresponding MRLs to Steps 8 and 5/8
  • to hold Group 016 – Roots and Tubers at Step 7 pending finalization of the Classification of Food and Feed in relation to the vegetable commodity groups
  • to further consider crop grouping for Group 015 – Fruiting vegetables, cucurbits and Group 016 – Legume vegetables at its next session
  • to continue working on the revision of the Classification of Food and Feed through the identification of other commodity groups
  • to continue to work on examples of selection of representative commodities for vegetable and other commodity groups in parallel with the revision of the Classification of Food and Feed for inclusion in the Principles and Guidance for the Selection of Representative Commodities for the Extrapolation of Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides to Commodity Groups
  • to further consider the proposed draft Guidance for performance criteria for methods of analysis for the determination of pesticide residues
  • to continue work on guidance to facilitate the establishment of maximum residue limits for pesticides for minor crops / specialty crops; refinement of a limited list of borderline crops; and continue to identify issues and find solutions to facilitate the establishment of MRLs for minor crops / specialty crops based on establishment of Codex schedules and priority lists of pesticides for consideration at its next session
  • to seek feedback from the 2014 JMPR on the appropriateness of the approach taken for the identification of minor crops and the determination of minimum field trials necessary for the establishment of MRLs for pesticides for these commodities

Next Meeting

The 47th Session of the Committee will be held in approximately one years’ time in China.

Related Links

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

National Residues Survey

Last reviewed:
30 May 2014