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EU adopts new rules on fertilisers

The EU is adopting new rules for placing fertilising products on the EU market. The Council yesterday adopted a regulation which harmonises the requirements for fertilisers produced from phosphate minerals and from organic or secondary raw materials in the EU, opening up new possibilities for their production and marketing on a large scale. The regulation sets harmonised limits for a range of contaminants, such as cadmium, contained in mineral fertilisers.

Niculae BĂDĂLĂU, Romanian Minister of economy yesterday said:

These new rules will ensure that only fertilisers that meet high quality and safety EU-wide requirements and standards can be sold freely across the EU. The contaminants in EU phosphate fertilising products, such as cadmium, can potentially pose a risk to human, animal or plant health, to safety or to the environment and for this reason, the content of such contaminants was limited according to the new rules. The new rules will boost the production and use of phosphate fertilizers with low cadmium content and of organic fertilisers and will provide a greater choice to farmers oriented towards a more environment-friendly agriculture.

According to the regulation, EU fertilising products bearing the "CE marking" will have to fulfil certain requirements to benefit from free circulation in the EU's internal market. These include obligatory maximum contaminant levels, the use of defined component material categories and labelling requirements.

Manufacturers of fertilisers that do not bear the CE marking will still have the possibility of placing them on their national market.

The new regulation, which replaces the previous 2003 fertilisers regulation, covers all types of fertilisers (mineral, organic, soil improvers, growing matters, etc.).

Next steps

The regulation still has to be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication. It will start applying three years from its entry into force.


The Commission presented its proposal in March 2016 as part of the EU's circular economy action plan. One of its main objectives is to encourage large scale fertiliser production from domestic organic or secondary raw materials in line with the circular economy model, by transforming waste into nutrients for crops.

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