Applications for plant protection products (PPPs) and active substances must use new technical guidelines for determining the magnitude of pesticide residues in honey.

Honeybees may be exposed to PPPs either directly or indirectly when collecting nectar and pollen, and so honey can potentially contain PPP residues. For consumer protection, there should therefore be safe Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for honey, as there are for edible crops and for other products of animal origin. In the past, the MRLs for honey have been set at a default level of 0.05 mg/kg because a methodology on the data needed and the approach for using this data to set appropriate MRLs for each active substance wasn’t available.

In 2018, the European Commission drew up specific guidelines (SANTE/11956/2016 rev. 9) that present a decision-making scheme outlining what to do if pesticide residues are expected in honey. The guidelines include descriptions of experimental studies via syrup feeding and feed residue trials for setting MRLs in honey.

The guidelines were implemented on 1 January 2020. As bees can forage on ornamental crops as well as edible ones, the guidelines will also apply to PPPs used in floriculture.

If you require help in understanding how these guidelines are relevant to your products, or any other aspects of the PPP regulations, contact the Kerona team via info@kerona.ie or +353 1 849 5284.