On November 28, the Brazilian Senate approved the final text of Bill 1459/2022. The bill, which has now been sent for presidential sanction, will regulate agricultural pesticides, replacing the old Law 7.802/1989 (among others). After several years in the legislative process, the text, nicknamed the “Poison Bill,” underwent a series of changes, maintaining the term “agrotoxic” for relevant products.
The new law gives the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAPA) the main role of leading and coordinating the regulatory system for agricultural pesticides, both in the registration process and risk reanalysis, assigning it the role of the registering body, which function, in fact, it has already been performing. However, the text also makes it clear that federal agencies responsible for health and the environment, such as the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), are tasked with determining the requirements for toxicological and ecotoxicological dossiers, as well as conducting the respective risk assessments. This means that both bodies have an essential role in the decision-making process for registration. The act of granting registration remains a complex administrative process, with MAPA acting as coordinator, as prescribed by the legislation governing federal public administration due to the relevance of these inputs for agriculture and, consequently, the economy.
Moreover, the concentration of inspection authority in MAPA does not necessarily mean a reduction in its effectiveness. It will be the Ministry’s responsibility to ensure that manufacturers and importers comply with regulatory standards, something it already does. In the name of efficiency, the activity is now centralized in a single federal government body, which was previously divided among three different federal entities, requiring specific structure and budget from each. To suggest that such change results in a relaxation of the rules is to insinuate that MAPA does not have a competent and impartial technical team, which is clearly inaccurate and misleading.
The new text sets specific deadlines for the completion of registration processes, generally shorter than the current rule, allowing a new product to be analyzed in up to 24 months. However, the controversial concept of temporary registration, which allowed for the use of the product in the country without the respective “definitive” registration when the competent government agencies failed to meet the deadlines provided in the text for its concession, was excluded.
It remains to be seen whether the authorities will be technically equipped and with human resources to meet the new deadlines or if their judicialization will continue to be recurrent.
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