EFSA Issues Scientific Statement on MRLs for Potassium Phosphonates

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August 19, 20223E Global Research TeamBlog

On 4 July 2022 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a scientific statement that provides an overview of the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for potassium phosphonates that were derived from different uses and different data sets. The results of these different uses and data sets led EFSA to propose diverging MRLs for the same products. This scientific statement attempts to resolve these differences.

3E Review

EFSA is responsible for assessing the risk associated with the use of pesticide products—specifically the pesticide residues in foodstuffs. It conducted this overview of the MRLs it proposed for potassium phosphonates based on a mandate from the European Commission, under Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 Laying Down the General Principles and Requirements of Food Law, Establishing the European Food Safety Authority, and Laying Down Procedures in Matters of Food Safety. The overview considered reasoned opinions on MRLs for potassium phosphonates in different products by EFSA and a Scientific Report to the 52nd Session of the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR).

Based on a toxicological profile of the substances, EFSA was able to derive an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 2.25 mg/kg for potassium phosphonates and an ADI of 1 mg/kg for fosetyl and phosphonic acid. As a result, EFSA proposed revising the MRLs for phosphonic acid residues on the following crops:

  • Citrus fruits, beet leaves (chard), and herbal infusions from leaves and herbs: MRL proposals as derived by joint MRL review were recommended
  • Cherries, plums, and honey: MRLs as derived in Article 10 EFSA reasoned opinions were recommended.
  • Kiwi fruits: Codex MRL proposal as derived by the JMPR in 2019 was recommended

For more information about these proposed MRLs, please read the scientific statement.

On the basis of the information provided, EFSA concluded that “MRLs recommended in this statement for the enforcement of residues of phosphonic acid and derived in the framework of various EFSA assessments issued between June 2021 and January 2022 supporting the authorised or intended uses of potassium phosphonates or fosetyl, are not expected to result in a consumer exposure exceeding the toxicological reference values and therefore are unlikely to pose a risk to consumers' health.”

For more information about Fosetyl/Phosphonic acid, 3E Monitor subscribers can access the following articles.

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3E Analysis

It is fairly common for EFSA to recommend that MRLs be changed for some commodities, while reserving judgement on others. The European Commission usually supports EFSA’s recommendations, but these are still subject to approval through the EU legislative process.