On 26 September 2022, the European Commission published for public consultation a draft delegated act supplementing Reg (EC) 1069/2009 regarding the determination of end points in the manufacturing chain of certain organic fertilisers and soil improvers (Ares(2022)6618010).
While the plant biostimulants industry is pleased to finally have a public draft available for discussion, we regret that more consultation did not happen. In their current form, the proposed measures would be unworkable because they are divorced from operational realities and therefore would make little or no contribution to the European Union’s ambitions for the Circular Economy under the European Green Deal. The Farm to Fork Strategy notes the need to speed up adoption of circular, bio-based tools in food production, and the current draft delegated act unfortunately falls short of this ambition by failing to acknowledge the positive risk assessments of key materials like hydrolysed proteins. We hope that the current consultation will make it possible to correct these shortcomings while maintaining the high levels of health and safety that are the objective of safety-based end points.
EBIC and six national associations (Assofertilizzanti – Italy, Afaïa—France, Unifa—France, IVA—Germany, Aefa—Spain, and Artemis—Netherlands) jointly drafted comments that reflect the position of the plant biostimulants industry across Europe. While we welcome the inclusion of insect frass in Article 3 of the draft delegated act, we note the following shortcomings, which are explained in more detail in the comments we submitted
- The statement in Article 4(3) of the draft delegated regulation that the derived products in Article 4 may be mixed with “any material of non-animal origin which is not listed in the catalogue of feed materials set out in the Annex to Regulation (EU) No 68/2013” should be deleted. This is simply unworkable as every single plant micronutrient (Fertilising Products Regulation CMC 1 materials) is listed in the catalogue of feed materials as are many of the plant materials explicitly included in the Fertilising Products Regulation under Component Material Categories 2 and 6. Indeed, the mineral fraction of fertilising products is generally considered to make them less appetizing to animals.
- The draft delegated act does not provide legal clarity on whether the proposed end points could be used in all appropriate Product Function Categories of EU Fertilising Products. This could be easily correct by adding the following sentence to Article 2(1) of the draft: “For the purposes of this regulation, certain organic fertilisers and soil improvers should be understood to include all relevant Product Function Categories of Reg (EU) 2019/1009.”
- Hydrolysed proteins (Article 4(1)(f)), including the treatment processes in Annex XI of Reg. (EU) 142/2011, should be moved into Article 3, justified by EFSA risk assessments “Scientific Opinion on the revision of the quantitative risk assessment (QRA) of the BSE risk posed by processed animal proteins (PAPs)” (2011) and “Updated quantitative risk assessment (QRA) of the BSE risk posed by processed animal protein (PAP)” (2018). Furthermore, non-proteinaceous hydrolysates should be explicitly mentioned in the new point in Art. 3.
- Articles 3 and 4 should refer to plants authorised under Article 24(1) of Regulation (EU) No 1069/2009 without a reference to subpoint (f) as many producers of hydrolysed proteins also sell their products into other value chains and do not actually sell anything packaged as fertilising products per se.
- The proposed risk mitigation measures should be deleted as incompatible with the definition of an end point and the status of these materials as components, not final products, under Regulation (EU) 2019/1009.
- The explanatory memorandum glosses over negative feedback provided to date by stakeholders and competent authorities on fertilising products.
View the full text of the biostimulant industry’s comments on the draft delegated regulation defining end points for animal by-products in fertilising products.