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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

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Updated on 20/09/2016

What are plant protection products?

Presentation and regulatory framework

Keywords : Plant protection products

Plant protection products are formulations intended to protect plants and plant products. Find out what these products are, what they are used for, and how they are regulated.

Plant protection products are preparations intended to protect plants and also their products after harvesting. They are considered as pesticides, a group which also include biocides and antiparasitics for human and veterinary use.

The use of plant protection products is intended to:

  • protect plants against all harmful organisms or prevent their action
  • act on the life processes of plants (insofar as they are not nutrients)
  • ensure the storage of plant products
  • destroy undesirable plants
  • destroy parts of plants, inhibit or prevent undesired growth of plants

Each formulation consists of one or more active substances responsible for the properties of the plant protection product and substances called co-formulants. These co-formulants give the product a form suitable for its application. They include anti-foaming agents, diluents and wetting agents.


The issues

Having products that are safe, and whose performance has been assessed and conditions of use specified (taking into account progress in knowledge, diversity and any specific aspects of crop situations) is a major issue for farmers, consumers, industry and the environment. The use of plant protection products may cause direct or indirect risks to humans, whether this be the user or the general population, as well as to ecosystems.

Assessing pesticides before they can be placed on the market, and monitoring them post-authorisation, are vital to public and environmental health.


The regulatory framework

Assessing plant protection products and the active substances they contain, before they can be placed on the market, is strictly regulated and harmonised at European level by Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. The assessment process is divided into two stages:

  • the first, conducted at European level, focuses on the hazards and risks associated with active substances used in the manufacture of plant protection products.
  • the second assesses the benefits and risks associated with commercial formulations and is performed within different geographical zones, with France being located in the South Zone.