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Critically examined - plant protection products

The BVL is responsible for authorising plant protection products in Germany. In this process, the BVL is responsible for risk management, i.e. for authorisation decisions and administrative measures to protect both humans and the environment. Furthermore, the BVL acts as the national coordination point in the European cooperation to evaluate active substances in plant protection products and to determine maximum residue levels. It lists plant resistance improvers and adjuvants which are permitted in Germany.

Plant Protection Products

Plant protection products are substances which are intended to protect plants or plant products against animals, plants, micro-organisms or diseases. Substances which destroy plants, regulate growth or inhibit germination are also regarded as plant protection products.

Plant protection products may only be distributed and used if they have been authorised
The competent authority in Germany is the BVL (Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety) which collaborates with three evaluation authorities: the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the Julius Kühn Institute and the Federal Environmental Agency. Apart from supervising the procedure the BVL is responsible for risk management, that is, for authorisation decisions and administrative measures. Important aims in this respect are a sufficient protection of crops, avoiding harmful effects on human health and avoiding unacceptable effects on the environment. Reports prepared by the three evaluation authorities involved and recommendations made by an independent scientific advisory committee form the basis for management decisions of the BVL. The BVL can make the authorisation of a plant protection product subject to certain conditions in order to ensure its safe use. After the authorisation of a plant protection product its application is surveyed by means of control and monitoring programmes. In the case of unexpected effects the BVL can change the authorisation or, if necessary, withdraw it.

Plant protection products in the EU are subject to a uniform body of legislation
All Member States apply the same evaluation procedures and authorisation criteria. A joint positive list of active substances permitted in plant protection products is also part of the harmonisation process. Active substances are evaluated in a joint procedure and a decision on their inclusion in the positive list is made. The BVL is the German co-ordinating office for this European cooperation.

Plant resistance improvers and adjuvants
Besides plant protection products, the Plant Protection Act also provides for adjuvants and plant resistance improvers. Adjuvants are added to plant protection products, for instance, in order to improve wetting of leaf surfaces. Plant resistance improvers are substances which improve the resistance of plants. Products for use on cut flowers also belong to this category. Adjuvants and plant resistance improvers may only be placed on the market if they have been included in a list with the BVL. This listing procedure is less complex than the authorisation procedure for plant protection products.

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© 2016 Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety