Understanding the REACH regulation Fertilizing

March 3, 2023

What you need to know about REACH Fertilizer

On July 16, 2022, the Fertilizer Products Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 entered into force. Its application cancelled the effect of Regulation 2003/2003/EC, aimed at regulating mineral fertilizers composed of one or more plant nutrients, within the European Union (EU). Moreover, it amends regulations (EC) No 1069/2009 and (EC) No 1107/2009.

The regulation 2003/2003/EC extended to fertilizers placed on the market with the mention " EC fertilizer ". The word fertilizer is defined as a "material whose main function is to provide nutrients to plants".

Thus, Regulation 2019/1009 establishes the rules for the placing on the market and use of fertilizer products within the EU. The term "fertilizer products" is used for all substances and mixtures used to improve soil fertility and plant nutrition. It includes organic and inorganic fertilizers and biostimulants.

The base of Annex I containing the types of fertilizers according to their specific characteristics, has been updated on February 06, 2023, and contains the following 7 substances (inorganic fertilizers with minimum trace elements content):

  • Boron (B)
  • Cobalt (Co)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Zinc (Zn)

The objective of this regulation is to guarantee the safety, quality and efficiency of these products while promoting the circular economy and promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly fertilization practices.


The scope of the REACH regulation Fertilizing

The regulation does not apply to animal by-products or derived products which are subject to the requirements of Regulation (EC) No 1069/2009 when they are made available on the market and to plant protection products falling within the scope of Regulation No 1107/2009.

Apart from these exceptions, Regulation 2019/1009 applies to all fertilizer products placed on the market in the European Union (including products imported from a third country).


Impacts of the REACH fertiliser regulation 

This regulation obliges fertilizer users in the EU to register under REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals) the ingredients of fertilizer products, if they belong to one of the categories of component materials (CMC) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11.

The categories of component materials are as follows:

  • CMC 1: Substances and mixtures based on virgin materials
  • CMC 2: Plants, parts of plants or plant extracts
  • CMC 3: Compost
  • CMC 4 : Digestate from vegetable crops
  • CMC 5: Digestate other than from vegetable crops
  • CMC 6 : By-products of the food industry
  • CMC 7: Micro-organisms
  • CMC 8: Nutrient polymers
  • CMC 9: Polymers other than nutrient polymers
  • CMC 10: Derivatives as defined in Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009
  • CMC 11: By-products within the meaning of Directive 2008/98/EC

Contrary to the EU REACH regulation, the REACH fertilizer regulation applies to any quantity, also less than 1 ton/year.

Manufacturers and importers affected by the REACH fertilizer regulation are subject to conformity assessment procedures on behalf of REACH. Some of these procedures require the intervention of a notified body, meeting a number of criteria.

  • Check the classification of the fertilizer product
  • Conduct a conformity assessment
  • Submit a market authorization file
  • Label the fertilizer product
  • Maintain records

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