The EU has adopted new rules for fertiliser products placed on the European market aimed at ensuring their quality and safety.
The regulation harmonises the requirements for fertilisers produced from phosphate minerals and from organic or secondary raw materials. It sets limits for contaminants in fertiliser such as cadmium and outlines labelling requirements.
Cadmium and other fertiliser contaminants can potentially pose a risk to human, animal and plant health as well as the environment.
Nearly half of the fertilisers on the EU market are not covered by the existing legislation, the 2003 Fertilisers Regulation. Existing rules cover mainly conventional fertilisers, typically extracted from mines or produced chemically while the new regulation will cover all types of fertiliser.
The Romanian Minister of Economy Niculae Badalau, who oversaw the passing of the regulation, said: “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.”
Fertilisers which fulfil the new requirements will bear the "CE" marking and benefit from free circulation in the internal market of the EU. Fertilisers that do not bear the CE marking will still have the possibility of placing them on their national market.
The limits for cadmium content in CE-marked phosphate fertilisers will be 60mg/kg.
The regulation should prove a boost to the production and use of phosphate fertilisers with low cadmium content and of organic fertilisers. Minister Badalau said it would provide a greater choice to farmers oriented towards more environmental-friendly agriculture.
The regulations will now be signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Following its publication it will enter into force after 20 days and start applying from three years after that.
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