The word pesticide derives from the Latin words pestis, meaning plague or pestilence, and cida, meaning kill. This word is often used as a synonym for plant protection products, although the term also includes products such as biocides, which are not used to treat living plants, but instead to combat pests and disease-carriers in non-agricultural contexts. Some examples of these are disinfectants, rat poison, wood protection products, and repellents. In contrast, plant protection products are implemented in order to maintain the health of cultivated plants and to prevent them from being destroyed by disease or infested by pests. A plant protection product can contain one or more active substances. These could be chemical substances or microorganisms, even viruses. The most common types of plant protection products are herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, acaricides, plant growth regulators (in order to suppress competing plants or accelerate ripening), and repellents. In Central Europe, herbicides and fungicides are the most commonly used plant protection products. In the tropics and subtropics, on the other hand, insecticides play a major role in plant protection.
The marketing and usage of plant protection products, as well as their residue on and in food products, are governed by a large number of EU regulations. They are not allowed to be marketed or used without prior approval. After the producer has submitted the application dossier to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the approval process is carried out by the EU Commission. The central focus of this process is on the active substances used in the plant protection product. The permit depends on whether these active substances are approved throughout the EU. In the next step, it is up to the individual member states to decide whether to approve these active ingredients on a national scale as well. The authority responsible for pesticide approval in Germany is the Federal Agency for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL), although the technical evaluation is conducted by three additional agencies: The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA), the Julius-Kühn Institute (JKI), and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
Whereas the marketing of plant protection products is governed by the Regulation (EC) no 1107/2009, all matters concerning the legal limits for pesticide residues in food and feed are addressed in the Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. This regulation also contains provisions concerning official inspections of pesticide residues in food products, either of plant or animal origin, that could occur through the usage of pesticides for plant protection.
The GBA Group possesses decades of experience in pesticide analysis and is among the leading laboratories for residue analysis in all of Europe. Our analytical portfolio for pesticides ranges from the classic multimethod, which is used to test for over 600 pesticides, to group methods (organotin compounds, phenoxyalkanecarboxylic acids, quaternary ammonium compounds, polar pesticides), and even a diverse assortment of individual methods. If you have any questions or are interested in a particular analysis, please don’t hesitate to contact us.