Release of guidance for dose expression for vertical crops in Belgium

Date: 14 May 2018

The Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment Service Plant protection products and Fertilizers recently released a new guidance document explaining how Belgium has been dealing in the past and will continue in future with dose expression for vertical crops. The guidance comes into force for all applications submitted in Belgium from 1 January 2019 onwards.

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According to this guidance document, the dose for vertical crops (where upward or sideward directed spray application is used) has to be expressed for zonal (BE as zRMS or cMS) as well as for national dossiers as dose rate per hectare of Leaf Wall Area (LWA), in addition to the dose rate per hectare ground surface. This is in line with the EPPO standard PP 1/239(2) on dose expression for plant protection products. The up to now additionally given information on the authorisation certificates from Belgium of the dose/ha ground surface of a standard orchard for apple and pear will no longer be mentioned on future authorisation certificates.
Furthermore, attention is drawn within the Belgian guidance document to the bullet points on transition phase for adopting LWA, released by the Central Zone Steering Committee (CZSC via CIRCABC; click here to view the document). Accordingly, beginning with 1 January 2020 application dossiers for new products intended to be used for the vertical crops grapevine, pome fruits and high growing vegetables in the Central Zone will only be accepted when the efficacy trials were conducted based on the LWA concept. Consequently, efficacy trials for these crops carried out after1 January.2018 will only be accepted in future applications if they have been conducted on basis of the LWA dose expression. Furthermore, the dose rate per hectare of LWA has to be included in the GAP table (either in column 14 – remarks or 10 to 12 – application rate), restricted by the maximum rate per hectare ground surface and the range of possible concentrations.

Information referring to these bullet points from the CZSC was also published in 2018 by further countries, e.g. Germany and the United Kingdom.

Based on the information provided by Germany and Belgium, the data needed for calculation of LWA should also be recorded in residue trials, as the concept of LWA might also apply in future for residue calculations, and therefore the possibility for conversion of dose expression used in the residue trials should be granted.

Jasmin Philippi, Assistant Manager Regulatory Affairs, Agrochemicals and Biopesticides - Biostimulants, Fertiliser, IPM
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New EU Code on agricultural data sharing

Date: 3 May 2018

The new “EU code of conduct on agricultural data sharing by contractual agreement” was signed on 23 April by the 9 agro-food chain organisations and associations CEETTAR, CEJA, CEMA, Copa and Cogeca, ECPA, EFFAB, ESA, FEFAC and Fertilizers Europe (see below).

In recent years, the rise of precision/digital farming systems led to a huge increase in agri-food chain data available to be processed, shared and analysed. Considering the current scientific and technical progress and the envisaged uses of precision/digital farming methods (e.g. CAP-reform), a further tremendous increase is to be expected in the years to come.

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To fully deploy the benefits of precision/digital farming systems, data access and sharing has to be regulated and transparent rules have to be implemented for a huge variety of data on land, livestock, machines, climate, compliance and finance and different data sources such as farm data incl. agronomic, compliance and livestock data, machine data, agri-supply data (e.g. on fertilisers or plant protection products) or agri-service provider data. The new, non-binding code of conduct provides respective guidance especially taking into account data ownership and farmer’s needs, collection, access, storage and usage of data as well as the further development of precision/digital farming systems.

Annex 2 of the Code of Conduct includes case studies for different situations of data ownership considering different data sources and types including for example pest alert systems or agricultural contractors.

Besides Regulation 2016/679 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, Annex 3 of the Code of Conduct also provides further information on the relevant EU regulatory frameworks concerned.

For further information on the new Code of Conduct see also the websites of the organisations and associations involved:
CEJA (European Council of Young Farmers): www.ceja.eu
CEETTAR (European Organisation of Agricultural, Rural and Forestry Contractors): www.ceettar.eu
CEMA (European Agricultural Machinery): www.cema-agri.org
COPA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations): www.copa-cogeca.be
COGECA (General Committee for Agricultural Cooperation in the European Union): www.copa-cogeca.be
ECPA (European Crop Protection Association): www.ecpa.eu
EFFAB  (European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders): www.effab.info
ESA (European Seed Association): www.euroseeds.eu
FEFAC (European Feed Manufacturers' Federation): www.fefac.eu
Fertilizers Europe: www.fertilizerseurope.com

Dr Lars Huber, Head of Biostimulants, Fertiliser, IPM
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European Parliament adopts new regulation on Europe’s organic agriculture

Date: 24 April 2018

On April 19th European Parliament has adopted the new legislation on EU organic farming rules thus repealing Regulation 834/2007. The new regulation, initiated in 2014, was adopted with 466 votes against 124.

As the organic farming sector has hugely grown in the last years, organic managed farms covering 6.7 % of Europe’s agricultural area (2016, EU-28), the new Regulation tries to adapt the regulatory framework for organic farming to these new circumstances and establish the basis for the further growth of this farming sector.

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Advancement of organic farming is already well established in different political and regulatory frameworks, such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) or the Directive for sustainable use of pesticides (SUD  2009/128). To further boost organic farming in EU the new Regulation allows for a mixed production of organic and conventional food on one holding and simplifies the certification for small farmers (group certification) to encourage conversion.

Furthermore, the new Regulation implements strict, risk-based checks along the organic supply chain and phases out the current “equivalence” rules for imports of organic goods within five years after entry into force.


In regards to plant protection, “the new rules are not very different from the current legal situation” says rapporteur MEP Martin Häusling. Main focus is to avoid contamination from chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. In order to further improve respective standards, a new set of measures is implemented by the Regulation. Effectiveness of these new EU anti-contamination rules and national thresholds will be checked four years after entry into force of the new regulation and if need be the Commission is to come up with a draft law to harmonise them. For further information on pesticide residues in organic food see also the supporting publication by European Food Safety Authority, 2018: Monitoring data on pesticide residues in food: results on organic versus conventionally produced food. EN-1397. Click here to view EFSA's publication.

Read also the Provisional Edition of the European Parliament legislative resolution of 19 April 2018 on the proposal for a regulation.
Dr Lars Huber, Head of Biostimulants, Fertiliser, IPM _______________________________________________________________

Commission publishes new rules on transparency and sustainability of the EU risk assessment in the food chain

Date: 24 April 2018

In April, Commission published its proposal for a new regulation to improve the transparency and sustainability of EU risk assessments for plant protection products, GMOs (cultivation, food/feed uses), feed additives, food contact materials, food additives, food enzymes and flavourings, novel foods and smoke flavourings (COM(2018) 179 final). The new Regulation is a follow-up of the fitness check of the General Food Law Regulation (Regulation 178/2002), initiated in 2014, and the Commission's reply to the European Citizens Initiative ‘Ban glyphosate and protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides’.

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The aim of the proposal is to ensure more transparency on safety related information used for risk assessments for substances and products used in the food production chain (regulations to be amended see below) by:

  • Ensuring for public access to all relevant information
  • Establishing a common European Register of commissioned studies for all regulatory frameworks in the food chain
  • Possibility for additional studies to be requested by EFSA and financed by EU budget
  • Consultation of stakeholders and the public on studies submitted in the registration process
  • Increase Member States' involvement in the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) governance structure and scientific panels
  • Strengthening risk communication to citizens
Confidentiality of studies/information provided in the registration process will be maintained. The new Regulation will contain a positive list of confidential items to safeguard commercial interests of applicants.
As the fitness check on the General Food Law Regulation has also shown that the approval/authorisation procedures for several sectors are long-lasting and thus slow down the market entry process of the respective products, a closer involvement of EFSA, for example in the pre-submission procedure, may contribute to a faster and more streamlined registration process.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety called for a fast entry into force of the new Regulation, i.e. early 2019, whereat for specific issues, such as the expansion of the Management Board specific timelines are set in the Regulation. 

Amended Regulations/Directives:

Dr Lars Huber, Head of Biostimulants, Fertiliser, IPM
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