An MRL is a Maximum Residue Level and is the maximum level of certain chemicals allowed in food and feed. These levels are agreed at a European level and are put in place to ensure anything which may be ingested will not harm you. The levels are decided by independent scientists after rigorous testing and ensure that food which is imported or exported is safe to consume.
Pesticides get a lot of attention for their potentially dangerous impact on our health, just look at the growth of organic food, in 2014 the number of organic food producers grew by 7.1%. You don’t need to worry about pesticides though as they are strictly monitored to ensure you never ingest dangerous levels, with MRLs playing a large part in ensuring our food safety.
Why pay attention to MRLs?
MRLs provide farmers with the option to find the best pesticide for their particular crop. While MRLs are a guide for the acceptable levels of chemical residue, they are set deliberately low to ensure that levels which may potentially harm the consumer are never met.
Changes to MRLs
MRLs are constantly under review and recently we have seen the release of changes to certain MRLs. If you use any product which appears on the MRL list, you must ensure you are complying with the correct MRL. The list of changes can be found here, on the HSE website.