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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Rules for EC Fertilisers

Regulation (EC) 2003/2003 (the “EC Fertilisers Regulation”) sets out requirements relating to mineral fertilisers consisting of one or more plant nutrients. Please note that other fertilisers are governed by EU Member State national legislation. In addition to specific chemical and technical requirements, the EC Fertilisers Regulation sets out labelling, traceability and information requirements.

It is your responsibility to comply with the EC Fertilisers Regulation. You must also comply with national laws and regulations in Member States which relate to fertilisers. This is a general recommendation, and you should not take it as a substitute for legal advice. We encourage you to consult your legal counsel for any concerns about the laws and regulations relating to your product.

What products does the EC Fertilisers Regulation apply to?

The EC Fertilisers Regulation applies to fertilisers (defined as a material, the main function of which is to provide nutrients for plants) that belongs to one of the types listed in Annex I of the EC Fertilisers Regulation and are designated as EC Fertilisers.

Who has obligations under the EC Fertilisers Regulation?

The EC Fertilisers Regulation applies to manufacturers of fertilisers. However, you are considered to be the manufacturer if you are responsible for offering a fertiliser for sale or supply in the EU. This includes:

  • Supply of fertilisers, either for payment or free of charge
  • Storage for the purpose of supply
  • Importation of fertilisers into the customs territory of the EU. In particular, if you are a producer, importer or a packager working for your own account, or if you change the characteristics of a fertiliser.

Distributors who do not change the characteristics of a fertiliser are not deemed to be the manufacturer.

Importantly, the manufacturer must be established within the EU, and they are responsible for the conformity of the EC fertiliser with the EC Fertiliser Regulation.

What are the key obligations on manufacturers under the EC Fertilisers Regulation?

EC Fertiliser designation:

Fertilisers that are marked as “EC Fertiliser” are able to freely circulate in the EU market. Fertilisers that meet the requirements of the EC Fertiliser Regulation and belong to a type of fertiliser listed in Annex I can be marked as “EC fertiliser”.

In particular, a fertiliser can only be included in Annex I if:

  • It provides nutrients in an effective manner.
  • Relevant sampling, analysis and, if required, test methods are being provided.
  • Under normal conditions of use, it does not adversely affect human, animal or plant health, or the environment.

Fertilisers that do not comply with the requirements of the EC Fertiliser Regulation must not be designated as “EC Fertiliser”.

The EC Fertilisers Regulation contains specific provisions relating to particular types of fertiliser. You must ensure compliance with these provisions to the extent that they apply to your fertiliser product(s).

Labelling and information:

Packages, labels and accompanying documents must bear the following markings. These markings must be clearly separated from any other information on the packages, labels and accompanying documents:

  • Designation of type per Annex 1, if applicable
  • ‘Blend’, if applicable, after designation of type
  • Compulsory identification markings relating to inorganic primary nutrient fertilisers, inorganic secondary nutrient fertilisers and inorganic micro-nutrient fertilisers (see Articles 19, 21 and 23 respectively)
  • Nutrients (words and chemical symbol)
  • Name of micro-nutrient if applicable and relevant qualifier, listed in the alphabetical order of their chemical symbol
  • Specific directions for use (if applicable; see E.1 and E.2 of Annex I)
  • Quantity of fluid fertiliser (expressed by mass)
  • Net or gross mass, and optionally, volume for fluid fertilisers
  • Name or trade name and address of manufacturer

If the fertilisers are packed, these identification markings shall appear on the packages or labels. If the fertilisers are in bulk, these markings shall appear on the accompanying documents. Packaged fertilisers must be closed in such a way, manually or by a device, that ensures that the fastening, fastening seal or the package itself gets irreparably damaged once it is opened. Valve sacks may be used.

Fluid fertilisers must be accompanied by suitable additional instructions, which must cover, in particular, storage temperature and prevention of accidents during storage.

Additional optional identification information can also be marked – for example, indications of dose rates.


The label, the markings on the package, and the accompanying documents must appear in the national language or languages of the Member State in which the EC fertiliser is marketed.


The EC Fertilisers Regulation requires the manufacturer to maintain records of the origin of the fertilisers. These records must be available for inspection by Member State authority as long as the fertiliser is being supplied to the market and for a period of two years after the manufacturer has stopped supplying it.

There are no general EU-level registration requirements. However, high nitrogen content ammonium nitrate fertilisers must pass a “resistance to detonation” test and the test results must be submitted to the relevant competent authorities at least five days before offering the fertiliser for sale or supply in the EU, or in the case of imports, at least five days before the arrival of the fertiliser at the borders of the European Community.

Do distributors have obligations relating to EC Fertilisers?

Although the EC Fertilisers Regulation does not impose obligations on distributors as long as they do not change the characteristics of an EC Fertiliser, distributors do have obligations under the General Product Safety Directive when selling to consumers.

These include:

  • a general obligation of due care in respect of safety requirements
  • an obligation to inform market surveillance authorities if they know, or ought to know on the basis of information in their possession, that a product poses a risk to consumers because it does not comply with the general safety requirement
  • an obligation to cooperate with market surveillance authorities at their request to avoid risks posed by products that they supply or have supplied

Additional Information

We strongly encourage you to visit the European Commission’s website for more information on the EC Fertilisers Regulation:

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