FVO report – Italy – Plant protection products control system flawed

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Italy, carried out between 26 January and 4 February 2015, under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 on official food and feed controls and Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009.

The objectives of the audit were to evaluate the system of official controls on the marketing and use of plant protection products under Regulations (EC) No 1107/2009 and Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 and Directive 2009/128/EC.

The risk criteria on which operators are selected for controls have resulted in the exclusion of some categories of large scale operators from the scope of controls. Furthermore, the system of controls is hampered by the lack of co-operation and co-ordination between the multiple Competent Authorities involved and by inspectors’ lack of expertise in conducting controls relating to plant protection products. Consequently, the control system on the marketing and use of plant protection products is considered to be weak.

These shortcomings, combined with weaknesses in the programme to verify that the formulation of the product placed on the market complies with the conditions of the authorisation/parallel trade permit, means that the system for detection of illegal and/or counterfeit plant protection products is not effective. There are no official controls to ensure the restrictions related to the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments are implemented. While most recommendations from the previous audit on pesticides have been satisfactorily addressed, two recommendations, relating to formulation analysis and the effectiveness of controls on product labels and records of use, have not been addressed satisfactorily.

Aerial spraying is confined to very localised areas, and only following approval by the Competent Authority for this activity in line with Directive 2009/128/EC. In addition, systems are in place to facilitate growers in the implementation of Integrated Pest Management.

The FVO issued 9 recommendations to Italy and here you can find the answers of the Competent Authority involved.

FVO report – Pesticides residues in table grapes from Peru

This report describes the outcome of a Food and Veterinary Office audit in Peru, carried out between 19 and 27 November 2014. The objective of the audit was to assess controls on pesticide residues in table grapes intended for export to the European Union. In particular, the audit team followed up on action taken by the Competent Authorities in response to recommendations made by the Food and Veterinary Office in report DG(SANCO)/2011-6061.

Weaknesses in the authorisation system mean that use of plant protection products in accordance with the label provides no assurance that the resultant produce will comply with Codex maximum residue levels.

The website of the National Service for Agricultural Health is not fit for purpose in terms of disseminating critical information regarding the safe use of plant protection products. While there is a system of controls on the marketing of plant protection products, products bearing non-approved labels are commonplace.

The programme of controls on growers has no dissuasive measures to penalise non-compliant growers, focusing instead on training. Both the system of private controls by growers and pack-houses and the National Service for Agricultural Health training programme for growers are of limited value in ensuring produce will be compliant with Codex maximum residue levels due to weaknesses in the authorisation system.

The range of analysis under the national residue control programme is not sufficiently broad to ensure that products are used correctly and that Codex maximum residue levels will be respected. The relatively high number of notifications from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed in 2014 stems primarily from product authorisation and labelling issues, rather than bad practices by growers. Neither the public or private systems currently in place to ensure that table grapes from Peru will be in line with European Union maximum residue levels are sufficiently effective.

While there is a systematic follow-up to notifications from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed, the outcomes of investigations are not reported to the European Union. Three of the six recommendations from the previous audit, DG(SANCO)/2011-6061, have been satisfactorily addressed, and two recommendations partially addressed. The report makes a number of recommendations to the competent authorities, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified and enhancing the implementation of control measures.