Panel on plant protection products and their residues [PPR]
Last updated: 31 July 2006
Publication Date: 19 February 2004
The Panel on plant protection products and their residues deals with questions on the safety of plant protection products for the user/worker, the consumer of treated products, and the environment.
What are plant protection products?
Plant protection products are active substances and preparations (substances or micro-organisms including viruses, having general or specific action through chemical or biological means) that protect plants or plant products against harmful organisms or prevent the action of such organisms. They can also influence the life processes of plants (e.g. growth regulators) as well as destroy undesired parts of plants or control or prevent undesired growth of plants. Harmful organisms are any species, strain or biotype of plant, animal or pathogenic agent (including viruses, bacteria and mycoplasmas) injurious to plants or plant products. (See Council Directive 91/414/EEC for a complete definition).
The Role of the PPR Panel
Appointed by EFSA’s Management Board, the 21-member PPR Panel answers scientific questions related to pesticide risk assessment submitted by the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States. The Panel also carries out so-called ‘self-tasking’ activities. ‘Self-tasking’ occurs when EFSA, during the course of its regular work, identifies a particular issue which it believes requires further analysis and research. The Panel also works closely with the Pesticide Risk Assessment Peer Review Unit (PRAPeR) which is responsible for the peer review of initial risk assessments on new or existing pesticides. The Panel is asked for its opinion on any issues that cannot be resolved within this procedure or if further scientific guidance is needed.
Once adopted in a Panel Plenary meeting, all answers are submitted to the requesting body as scientific opinions and are published on the EFSA website. These opinions provide guidance for risk assessors and assist the European Commission in their decisions with regard to the placing on the market of plant protection products.
For more information on how EFSA scientific Panel Members are selected, see here: http://www.efsa.eu.int/science/catindex_en.html
The Regulatory context
Plant protection products in the EU are subject to legislation as laid down in Council Directive 91/414/EEC. All EU Member States apply the same evaluation procedures and authorisation criteria in order to place a plant protection product on the market. EFSA’s task is to carry out the risk assessment for pesticides and to submit its conclusions to the European Commission.
What is risk assessment?
A Risk Assessment is a scientifically-based process consisting of the steps described in Art. 3, Regulation 178/2002/EC.
In terms of EFSA’s mandate, the risk assessment process is applied to ensure that when properly applied for the purpose intended, plant protection products have, for example, no harmful effect on human or animal health, directly or indirectly (e.g. through drinking water, food or feed) or on groundwater, and have no unacceptable influence on the environment in general.