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EU aims for 'high quality, safety' standards on fertilizers with new regulation
EU fertilizers bearing the 'CE marking' will have to fulfil certain requirements to benefit from free circulation in the EU's internal market, the European Council said on Tuesday.
The requirements would include obligatory maximum contaminant levels, the use of defined component material categories, and labelling requirements.
The EU Council represents the 28 governments within the bloc.
Manufacturers of fertilizers that do not bear the CE marking will still have the possibility of placing them on their national market.
The new regulation, which replaces the previous 2003 fertilizers regulation, covers all types of fertilisers (mineral, organic, soil improvers, growing matters, etc.).
The European Parliament had voted to reduce the maximum cadmium levels in phosphate fertilizers to 60mg/kg phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5), with the goal to ultimately cut maximum levels to 20mg/kg after 12 years.
Cadmium is a carcinogen and is linked to osteoporosis, kidney failure and heart disease and can pollute water and threaten soil health.
“These new rules will ensure that only fertilisers that meet high quality and safety EU-wide requirements and standards can be sold freely across the EU," said the Romanian minister of economy, Niculae Badalau.
Romania holds the six-month rotatory Council presidency.
"The contaminants in EU phosphate fertilising products, such as cadmium, can potentially pose a risk to human, animal or plant health, to safety or to the environment and for this reason, the content of such contaminants was limited according to the new rules," Badalau added.
"The new rules will boost the production and use of phosphate fertilizers with low cadmium content and of organic fertilisers and will provide a greater choice to farmers oriented towards a more environment-friendly agriculture,”
The new rule has to be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU and then it will enter into force on the 20th day following its publication. It will start applying three years from its entry into force.
The European Commission - the EU's executive body - presented its proposal in March 2016 as part of the EU's circular economy action plan.
One of its main objectives is to encourage large scale fertilizer production from domestic organic or secondary raw materials in line with the circular economy model, by transforming waste into nutrients for crops.