The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently suggested lowering the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for acetamiprid after scientific evidence was published that raised uncertainties about the toxicity of the chemical. Specifically, EFSA suggests lowering the ADI from 0.025 to 0.005 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight (mg/kg bw) per day.

Based on the suggested lowered ADI, EFSA also recommends lowering the existing maximum residue levels (MRLs) for acetamiprid in food crops, as current MRLs pose a health risk to consumers.

Acetamiprid is a pesticide active substance with insecticidal action, the approval for which was renewed by the European Commission in 2018. After acetamiprid was re-approved, during its own rulemaking process, France presented new scientific evidence about the substance that caused EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR) to identify a need for an endocrine-disruption assessment of acetamiprid.

Additionally, since the renewal of the pesticide’s approval in 2018, evidence has been further scientific publications were brought to the attention of the European Commission that described methods for detecting pesticide residues in the cerebrospinal fluid of children. Using those detection methods, low levels of N-desmethyl-acetamiprid (IM-2-1), a metabolite of acetamiprid, were detected in most samples. Moreover, some Member States presented evidence to the Commission that high levels of the metabolite IM-2-1 were found in some food products, especially in spinach. Another member state demonstrated to the Commission of a potential acute consumer risk from exposure to acetamiprid in pears and lettuce.

In July 2022, the European Commission requested that EFSA provide advice on whether it is necessary to reevaluate the toxicological parameters/endpoints used in the risk assessment of acetamiprid, as well as the suitability cof existing MRLs, taking into account the scientific developments since its 2018 approval.

EFSA concluded that, in the current body of evidence on acetamiprid, there are major uncertainties or the developmental neurotoxicity properties of acetamiprid, and further data is required to better understand appropriate hazard and risk assessment for the chemical. Therefore, EFSA proposed to lower the ADI and acute reference dose (ARfD) from 0.025 to 0.005 mg/kg bw per day.

Finally, considering the new health-based guidance values, EFSA identified health risks from and recommended lowering the existing acetamiprid MRLs for 38 commodities. EFSA recommends lowering these 38 MRLs, while only keeping the existing MRLs for granate apples and aubergines. In its statement, EFSA details proposed MRLs for the 38 commodities, as well as guidance for risk managers.