The European Union is constantly revising its Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) to determine the maximum allowable crop pesticide residue in food.

Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs)

A number of changes to regulation EC 396/2005 have been published. These regulations will become active in June 2018 and January 2019. These changes include both reductions and increases of the Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Regulation EC 2018/960 is an amendment to annexes II, III and V of regulation EC 396/2005 and describes changes in maximum residue levels for cyantraniliprole, fenamidone, flubendiamide, fluopicolide, folpet, fosetyl, mandestrobine, mepiquat, metazachloor, propamocarb, propargite, pyrimethanil, sulfoxaflor and trifloxystrobin in or on certain fresh produce. This regulation is already active since the 26th of June 2018.

Regulation EC 2018/685 is an amendment to annexes II and III of regulation EC 396/2005 and describes changes in maximum residue levels for lambda-cyhalothrin in or on certain fresh produce. This regulation becomes active on the 26th of January 2019.

For the latest Pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs), check the EU pesticide database.

Maximum levels for cadmium in cacao and chocolate in 2019

In January 2019 the regulation on maximum levels for cadmium in cocoa and chocolate will become effective in the EU. Regulation EC 488/2014 is an amendment of Regulation EC 1881/2006 describing the maximum levels of cadmium in food items. Since the publication of this regulation in 2014, producers of chocolate and cocoa products were able to make the necessary changes in their production process because the products have to meet these new maximum levels for cadmium that will become valid in 2019.

The following maximum levels apply from the 1st of January 2019:

Pesticide Maximum Residue Level MRL Testing

For the import of cocoa into the European market, a number of food safety requirements are in place. One of these is the maximum values of contaminants in cocoa and chocolate products. There are several other contaminants besides cadmium that can be present in cacao such as pesticide residues, Polyciclyc Aromatic Hydrogen compounds (PAHs) and mycotoxines (more specific; Aflatoxins and Ochratoxins). The experts at our laboratory can also perform the analysis on these contaminants in cocoa and chocolate.

Please contact us in case you have any questions regarding the change in legislation or about the analyses of these contaminants

Kind regards,


About Ruth

Ruth vaughan cropnuts

Ruth Vaughan is the Technical Director at Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services Ltd. (CROPNUTS). Ruth is also a contributing author to Kenya’s leading horticulture magazines such as the HortFresh JournalHortiNews and Floriculture. Ruth is a great believer in soil health, organic matter, biochar and carbon sequestration as a way to alleviate climate change and increase food security. Loves visiting farmers and seeing all the different farming methods