The final version of the Technical Guide SANTE/11956/2016 rev. 9 for determining the magnitude of pesticide residues in honey and setting the MRLs in honey is expected to come into force on 1st January 2020.

Regulation (EU) No. 283/2013 requires studies on residues in pollen and bee products for human consumption, but it doesn’t specify the type and conditions of studies to be carried out, so currently they have to be treated with national Competent Authorities time to time.

The purpose of this Guide is exactly to fill this gap and provide further technical information on the studies and data required.

Residues in the feed represent the case where pesticide residues in honey may derive from the current uses of Plant Protection Products and the MRLs set should, in principle, to be established on the basis of data from relevant controlled field trials.

The honey situation is not comparable with the other situations where controlled field tests are carried out as residues in crops. As a matter of fact residues in honey derive from the most varied routes of exposure: from the absorption by bees while the collection of nectar and/or pollen at the time when the pesticides are used, during the treated crops or the adjacent non target plants are flowering and during the collection of nectar and/or pollen from the flowering rotational crops following the application of systemic persistent pesticides.

According to mean honey consumption per capita a chronic risk assessment for dietary exposure is not considered necessary but only an acute risk assessment should be verified.

This document, besides giving information about technical and experimental aspects, is a guide on the following key topics: the circumstances in which residues/MRLs in honey have to be taken into account and how to set likely residual values, an appropriate MRL value and how to collect this data in a useful way.