European Parliament vetoes Commission’s proposal to tolerate MRLs for thiacloprid

19 January 2024

The European Parliament voted against the European Commission’s proposal to tolerate maximum residue levels (MRLs) for thiacloprid above the determination threshold for around thirty imported food products. Thiacloprid is an insecticide belonging to the neonicotinoid class.

In 2020, thiacloprid faced a ban due to its harmful effects on unborn organisms and the apprehension regarding groundwater contamination by carcinogenic metabolites. Additionally, its high toxicity to bees and other pollinators raised environmental concerns. Despite EU regulations emphasising protection from substances categorised as ‘Toxic to reproduction category 1B,’ the Commission sought exceptions for imported food, significantly increasing citizen exposure by up to 1000 times. This approach would introduce imported food produced with Thiacloprid, placing EU farmers at a disadvantage in the market. Consequently, the Commission’s proposal to permit the continued use of this hazardous chemical in third countries raised concerns about the well-being of local communities and biodiversity.

In response, 386 Members of the European Parliament opposed the Commission’s proposal, while 186 supported it. In so doing, it endorsed the position of its Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). The Commission’s plan involved reducing the Maximum Residue Level of thiacloprid in specific food items but allowing exceptions for imported food.

SAFE is reassured by this development and urges the Commission to reconsider its position on thiacloprid, prioritising consumers’ health and food safety.