Good news for the potato sector: the European Commission has recently formally set the value of 0.4 ppm as the temporary maximum residual limit (LMRt) in potato (products). This value will come into effect on September 2nd, 2021*. This spares the sector the immediate application of the standard value (limit of detection) of 0.01 ppm. This transition rule is necessary, as it gives the sector time to remove the historical contamination, among other things in the storage warehouses.
According to Jean-Pierre Van Puymbrouck, president of Belpotato.be, “this is very positive for the potato sector. An immediate switch to the threshold value of 0.01 ppm would have been catastrophic. In the practice, it was just impossible. Luckily, Europe has been attentive to our arguments and we were able to negotiate a temporary LMR.”
But the work is not over yet. The LMRt will be reviewed using monitoring data that must be reported to the Commission on December 31st, 2021 at the latest, then updated again each following year on December 31st, together with an updated report on the development and implementation of cleaning practices. This solid evidence should progressively contribute to a decrease of the LMRt in the coming years towards the threshold value of 0.01 ppm, while staying in line with the reality in the field. The goal remains to not lose any potato batches or storage capacity.
The cleaning protocol (available at www.belpotato.be), developed last year by Euppa (European processing), Europatat (European trade) and Copa-Cogeca (European producers), led to the LMRt of 0.4 ppm. Many companies have already implemented it. However, due to a lack of time and the late presence of potatoes in warehouses because of the coronavirus, it has not been implemented in all warehouses or not entirely.
Belpotato.be is asking all operators concerned (producers, traders and industries) to implement it as widely as possible as soon as the stocks from the 2020 harvest are gone, or in any case, before storing the 2021 harvest.
The large sampling plan carried out by Belgapom will help establish the average residue figures on the tubers of the 2020 harvest, and to feed the report that must be presented to the Commission at the end of 2021. The commitment of the sector to supply accurate and updated data each year will contribute to the realistic degressive evolution of the LMRt.
*Regulation (EU) 2021/155 of February 9th, 2021, published on February 10th, 2021.
For more information: