Pesticide Registration Toolkit

Maximum Residue Limits


A Maximum residue limit (MRL) is the maximum concentration of a pesticide residue (expressed as mg/kg), to be legally permitted in or in food commodities and animal feeds. MRLs are based on Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) data and foods derived from commodities that comply with the respective MRLs are intended to be toxicologically acceptable.

In some countries/regions, MRLs are referred to as maximum residue limits and others as maximum residue levels. The term pesticide tolerance is also used by certain authorities. In the Toolkit, the term maximum residue limit is generally applied, following the practice by the Codex Alimentarius.




Codex Alimentarius

Codex Pesticides Residues in Food Online Database

Global MRL database

Global MRLs

New Zealand MRL webpage

Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) legislation around the world

EU MRL database

Search pesticide residues

USEPA pesticide residue tolerances

Pesticide Tolerances

Australian MRLs

Pesticides and veterinary residues

New Zealand Food Standards

Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for Agricultural Compounds

International sources

Codex Alimentarius

The main principal international source of MRLs is the Codex Alimentarius. MRLs are set by the Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR), based on recommendations made by the FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR).

MRLs can be found in the Codex pesticides in food online database.

The database can be searched by pesticide common name or class as well as by commodity name of code.


Global MRL database

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) used to maintain an international database of MRLs. This database is now managed by Bryant Christie Inc., as the Global MRL database. A (free) registration is required to access this database. The free subscription only provides access to the U.S. MRLs.


New Zealand MRL web page

The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries maintains a web page on pesticide maximum residue limit (MRL) legislation around the world. Links are provides to a large number of national authorities that set MRLs, as well as to their MRL databases if available.


National/regional sources

European Union

The European Commission sets its MRLs applicable in the EU (referred to as maximum residue levels), which are not always the same as Codex MRLs.

The EU MRL database can be searched by pesticide common name or by commodity or commodity groups.


United States of America

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) sets pesticide residue tolerances applicable in the USA. The official publication of pesticide tolerances for the USA is in the e-Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR). The USEPA provides guidance on how to obtain MRLs for specific commodities through the e-CFR.

US tolerances can also be accessed through the Global MRL database, mentioned under international sources.



Australian MRLs are published in the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Instrument No. 4 (MRL Standard). The MRL Standard can be accessed through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (click on the link to the ComLaw website).


New Zealand

The MRLs applicable in New Zealand are published in the New Zealand (Maximum Residue Limits of Agricultural Compounds) Food Standards. Click on the link on this page to obtain the most recent version of the standards.