EU authorisation processes of plant protection products from a scientific point of view

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Series Details Number 5
Publication Date June 2018
ISBN 978-92-79-67735-9
EC KI-04-17-354-EN-N
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This scientific opinion responds to a request from the European Commission formulated by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis (Health and Food Safety) for scientific advice on how to render the current EU dual system for approval and authorisation of plant protection products (PPPs), more transparent, effective and efficient. PPPs are more commonly referred to as ‘pesticides’. The advice takes the form of several recommendations.

Although recognising that the EU has made significant progress in the effectiveness of its authorisation system for PPPs, the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors feels there is room for improvement regarding: clarity on protection goals and their communication; structural aspects of the system concerning who does what and when; impacts of widespread and prophylactic use of PPPs on the environment; post-market vigilance; sharing of knowledge and the capacity of expertise; availability and quality of pre-market studies; ways to address hazards, risks, costs and benefits; and preventing the misuse of science in value-based disagreements. The advice also extends to a call for a dialogue to develop an EU-wide shared vision of how citizens want their food to be produced, including the role of PPPs therein, whilst endorsing the EU’s efforts to achieve a more sustainable use of pesticides.

This scientific opinion is based on an analysis of publicly available scientific and technical literature as well as close consultation with the scientific community and expert practitioners. In particular, it is informed by outcomes of various expert workshops and by an evidence review report produced by SAPEA, an independent Horizon 2020-funded consortium of European scientific academy networks, which constitutes a key component of the European Commission’s scientific advice mechanism (SAM).

The advice will inform preparatory work for the revision of the EU legislation on PPPs, which will also be informed by the outcomes of the European Commission’s review of the PPPs legislation under its Regulatory Fitness and Performance (REFIT) programme; and also by the European Parliament’s recently established special committee on authorisation procedures for pesticides in the European Union. This scientific opinion is published at a time when public and media interest in PPPs are high and it is hoped that its recommendations will be a valuable contribution both to the debate and to the EU’s continued efforts to improve its policy and practice in this and related areas.

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Commentary and Analysis
SAPEA: Topics: Authorisation of plant protection products in Europe
SAPEA: Evidence Review Report No. 3: Improving authorisation process for plant protection products in Europe. A scientific perspective on the assessment of potential risks to human health

European Commission: Scientific Advice Mechanism: Authorisation processes of plant protection products in Europe

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