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Request for clarification on the gradual undermining of the fruit and vegetable growing industry: the case of Captan

Question écrite de Mme Lara COMI - Commission européenne

Subject: Request for clarification on the gradual undermining of the fruit and vegetable growing industry: the case of Captan

The Commission plans to bring forward an implementing regulation regarding renewal of the authorisation for the active substance Captan, which will expire on 15 November 2024. Captan is a key active substance in the cultivation of several fruit and vegetable crops, using the ‘integrated production’ system.

Not all the statistical data on mitigating risk by means of a rationalisation of Captan doses using state- of-the art equipment and techniques has been assessed. Besides this, the possibility of adjusting doses based on the state of vegetative growth of the plants or the estimated phytosanitary risk, using decision support systems, has not been considered. The Member States may, all the same, adopt risk mitigation measures of their own.

Can the Commission therefore answer the following questions:

1. Were the use of Captan in the open air to be banned, which equally effective plant protection products would be available to farmers?

2. Why has the Commission not taken into consideration the statistical data supplied by businesses on the effectiveness of precision farming, which ensures that risks are mitigated and the use of plant protection products rationalised?

3. Has an impact study been conducted on the risks to farm productivity and profitability that would arise from limiting the use of Captan?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 14 mai 2024

Answer given by Ms Kyriakides on behalf of the European Commission (15 May 2024)

1. The Commission would like to recall that the criteria for deciding on the approval of an active substance in Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 (1) as adopted by the Parliament and the Council relate solely to safety for human and animal health and the environment, and do not contain considerations about the availability of alternatives. Due to the identified high risks to the environment from outdoor uses of captan, the Commission proposed renewing the approval with a restriction to permanent greenhouses. From discussions with grower organisations, plant protection products containing the currently approved active substances folpet, pyrimethanil or fludioxonil have emerged as possible alternatives.

2. The possibilities for reducing exposure through precision farming were considered. The Commission tasked the Rapporteur Member State (RMS) in 2023 to carry out a refined risk assessment considering specific mitigation measures taking account of available statistical data. After assessing the RMS’ refined risk assessment, the European Food Safety Authority confirmed in 2024 its conclusions of 2020 that a low risk to non-target organisms was not demonstrated (2).

3. The Commission must base decisions on the renewal of approval of active substances under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 on the strict criteria set out by the Parliament and the Council, which, inter alia, do not allow any unacceptable effects to the environment, including non-target species. The criteria do not include impacts on farm productivity and profitability resulting from limiting the use of active substances.

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