How to calculate the maximum residue limit (MRL) in soybean oil to be exported to the EU?

The MRLs applicable to raw commodities like soybeans, sunflower seeds or olives for oil production are available at the EU pesticide database . However no MRL value is displayed for oil.


The EU does not publish MRLs for processed items.

In order to calculate the MRL in oil applicable in the EU, the MRL for the raw commodity in the EU(e.g. soybean grain) and the processing factor applicable are required. For more information have a look to this video MRL in oil 01

However this MRL calculating method is not always applicable. When you crush any raw material like soybean grain to make oil you get an oil phase and a water phase. Some pesticides are soluble basically just in fat, others basically just in water and some others are soluble both in fat and in water.

If a pesticide is soluble both in water and in fat, the original residue in the raw commodity splits into the oil and into the aqueous byproducts. Therefore if you make oil from soybean grains exceeding the MRL, as the residue has splitted between the two phases, when you apply the full processing factor you might get as result a compliant soybean oil. This makes no sense since it is illegal to process any raw material exceeding MRL. In these cases we must use a different formula.

To determine the applicable formula we can get help of the octanol-water partition coefficient and its logarithm (log Pow). This ratio measures to which extend the pesticide concentrates in the fat phase and in the water phase. This parameter is key to determine which formula you should apply to estimate the MRL applicable in oil. In video MRL in oil 02 we show you some examples.

Lastly, I would like to highlight that the usage of the octanol-water partition coefficient and log Pow must be aimed to determine just an estimation of the oil MRL. The real processing factors and oil MRLs must be based in research studies when available.

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Límite Máximo de Residuos (LMR)

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