'Pesticide' is a broad term, covering a range of products that are used to control pests. They include:
- insect killers - insecticides
- mould and fungi killers - fungicides
- weedkillers - herbicides
- slug pellets - molluscicides
- rat and mouse killers - rodenticides
Farmers use pesticides to protect crops while they are growing and during storage. This is important to safeguard human health and prevent food becoming contaminated, for example by fungi, mice, flies or other insects.
There are rules in place to ensure that pesticides do not cause harm to human health, wildlife and the environment. Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) are the maximum levels of pesticide residue that may remain in a food after using pesticide.
Food businesses must ensure that the food they produce or import is complies with the law, including MRLs. Read more about pesticides legislation.
In Northern Ireland the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for ensuring the safe use of pesticides to protect the health of people and the environment.