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Maximum Residue Level (MRL) Database

Use these databases to find pesticide maximum residue levels for trade in or to the UK or other EU countries

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Our Maximum Residue Level (MRL) databases provide comprehensive information on statutory and non-statutory MRLs applying to pesticides in food following the introduction of EC Regulation 396/2005.

MRLs are limits on pesticide residues in food. They are the maximum residue levels likely to be left in food after it has been properly treated with a pesticide.

There are two types of MRL that may apply to foods marketed within the European Union.

Statutory MRLs

The first type is EC Statutory MRLs set under EC Regulation 396/2005, which came in to force on 1 September 2008. Where these EC MRLs are set everyone involved in the marketing of food or feed within the EU must comply with them. Annex 1 of the Regulation lists the food and feed commodities for which the MRLs may be set. Annexes 2, 3a and 3b contain the MRLs that apply. View a more detailed description of each Annex.

Regulation 396/2005 aims to set MRLs for all pesticide active substances which, when used, produce an identifiable residue. The only exceptions are those active substances whose residues cannot be distinguished from background levels; these are listed in Annex IV of the Regulation.

Some active substances used as pesticides will not be listed in any of the Annexes to Regulation 396/2005 (for instance because the pesticide concerned was no longer used in the EU when the Annexes to Regulation 396/2005 were drawn up). In anticipation of these circumstances Regulation 396/2005 states that a default level of 0.01 mg/kg will apply to any unnamed active in combination with any of the food and feed commodities listed under the Regulation.

Important note: MRLs set under Regulation 396/2005 apply only to produce treated on or after 1 September 2008. Produce treated before 1 September 2008 will be subject to any statutory EC or UK MRLs applying at that time. More information on those MRLs in place before Regulation 396/2005 came into force can be found via a separate database, accessed via the link below: You can view the old data here: https://secure.pesticides.gov.uk/MRLs_EC_Original/search.asp

Non-Statutory CODEX MRLs

The second type is the MRLs set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), an international body that aims to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in international food trade. Codex MRLs are non-statutory levels. They are used as guidance on acceptable levels but are only relevant where they apply to a commodity for which EC statutory MRLs are not set.