Management of emergency crop protection issues
How to manage a new disease or insect coming from other latitudes and causing unacceptable damage to crops? How to make up for plant protection product withdrawals following their risk assessment in situations where no other legal alternative exists for facing the issues producers are confronted with?
These are frequent situations for which the official framework of plant protection products authorisations cannot provide a quick and appropriate response because of the high-level risk assessment performed to ensure that the effects of those products to the environment and to human and animal health are not inacceptable.
This is why it is possible to grant emergency authorisations. This type of authorisation covers special circumstances for limited and controlled use and aims at controlling a disease, pest or weed which cannot be managed by any other reasonable means. The maximum period of authorised use shall not exceed 120 days.
But are such emergency authorisations properly assessed and found acceptable? Of course. Therefore, two assessments are carried out: an administrative evaluation and a scientific assessment.
- The administrative evaluation aims at clearing out the issue encountered, checking whether there is no other possible alternative and making sure that actions are really taken to address the issue by 'classical' means (adaptation of farming methods, monitoring of the situation, ordinary assessment of the product involved...).
- The scientific assessment concerns physico-chemistry, toxicology, residues in food, behaviour in the environment, ecotoxicology and efficacy of the product involved and is based on all the scientific information available.
Finally, it is the Authorisation board for pesticides for agricultural use that delivers an opinion whether an emergency authorization can be issued for the concerned plant protection product.