FRANCE: New Agriculture and Food law published

Further to its final adoption by The French National Assembly on 02 October, the law for achieving a balance in trade relations in the agricultural sector and for healthy, sustainable and affordable food was published on the Officiel Journal of 1st November 2018.

This agriculture and food law, also called EGalim law, results from the “États généraux de l’alimentation” (French National Food conference) held from 20 July to 21 December 2017. Three  objectives are pursued:

– pay fairer prices to producers,

– strengthen the safety, environmental and nutritional quality of food products,

– promote healthy, safe and sustainable food for all.

The agriculture and food law hardens the sale conditions and the use of pesticides in France:

  • Separation of sales and consultancy activities.
  • Ban on discounts, rebates and price reductions on pesticides for a better control of their use (except for biocontrol products as defined by article L. 253-6  of French Rural Code, basic substances as defined by article 23 of Regulation (EC) No.1107/2009 and low risk products as defined by the same regulation).
  • Extension of the neonicotinoids ban to all products containing active substances with the same mode of action in order to fight against biodiversity loss and to protect bees (article 83 of the law, modifying article L. 253-8 of the French Rural Code). The modalities of implementation will be set by a decree.

Despite the French government commitment to ban glyphosate within three years, no reference is made in the present law as regards the implementation of the ban.

Production, storage and transport of products containing active substances that are non EU-approved due to human, animal and/or environmental safety reasons, will be banned by 1st January 2022.

By 1st January 2020, risk mitigation measures will have to be implemented in order to strengthen the protection of residents, except for biocontrol products mentioned by the second paragraph of article L. 253-6 and for products containing exclusively basic or low risk substances as defined by Regulation (EC) No.1107/2009. The measures  will be formalised at local level by operators in agreement with residents. Implementation modalities will be set by a decree (article 83 of the law).

According to the law, the government shall present to the French Parliament within 6 months, a report as regards the setting up and the financing, before 1st January 2020, of a compensation fund for victims of pesticide-induced diseases (article 81).

In order to reduce the risk and the effects of the use of pesticides on human health and on the environment, article 80 of the law amends article L. 253-6 of the French Rural Code by specifying that a national action plan will set measures to mobilise research for developing alternative solutions to pesticides. This national plan is supplemented by a national strategic deployment plan for biocontrol products. Shorter evaluation  timelines is planned for biocontrol and biostimulant products.  In addition, the corresponding administrative procedures will be eased for applicants.

Article 77 amends article L. 253-1 of the French Rural Code by specifying that natural biostimulant substances are authorised via simplified procedure and evaluation whose implementation modalities will be set by regulation. The procedure and the evaluation will be adapted in the case of applications dealing with edible part of treated crops.

Lastly, the law authorises, for a 3-year period, experimental use of aircrafts for aerial application of products authorised in organic farming, or within in certified farms when the slope is equal or higher than 30%.

To download:

LOI n° 2018-938 du 30 octobre 2018 pour l’équilibre des relations commerciales dans le secteur agricole et alimentaire et une alimentation saine, durable et accessible à tous (EGalim law – in French)

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