Aquarium fertilizers and new EU regulations

The new EU regulation on fertilizers1 came into force on 16 July 2022.
While previous regulation2 largely covered agricultural fertilizers, the broader definition of ‘fertilizers’3 in the new regulation applies even to fertilizers used in home aquariums.

Importantly, fertilizers join 25 product categories4 to bear the CE mark. More commonly seen on electronics and machinery, the CE mark identifies products that comply with EU regulatory standards and which can be traded freely within the EU5.

1. As a distributor / reseller of aquarium fertilizers, what do I need to do?

Under the new regulation, you have to check that either (a) the fertilizers you carry are CE-marked and backed by the manufacturers’ Declaration of Conformity, or (b) the product can be legally sold within your country without the CE marking.

2. So not all fertilizers have to be CE-marked?

With the new regulation, CE-marked fertilizers can be traded freely with the EU. In simple terms, it is safe to carry them. Fertilizers without CE marking can still be sold in individual EU countries, subject to the laws governing fertilizers in that country6. In other words, CE marking is optional, but provides legal clarity that it is allowed to be sold within the EU.

For example, laws7 in Belgium allow the sale of fertilizers on 2 conditions. Either  (a) they comply with the regulation (EU) 2019/1009 or (b) if the manufacturer has successfully obtained a derogation ( a permit / official approval) for the product.

3. So from 16 July 2022 onwards, I can only sell CE-marked fertilizers?

No. As CE-marking on fertilizers is illegal prior to 16 July 20228 , authorities do not expect that all fertilizers instantly bear CE-marking from 16 July 2022. The transition provision (article 52) of the new regulation also allows you to continue selling fertilizers that you have in stock, without modifications, up to their expiry date9 .

Your manufacturer should either plan to get their fertilizer products CE-marked, or obtain clarity that your country legislation allows non-CE marked fertilizers to continue to be sold.

4. What is the status of 2Hr Aquarist APT fertilizers?

APT fertilizers now have labels that have been updated to comply with the new guidelines under (EU) 2019/1009. An example is shown below:

Notice the updated layout and the CE-mark. We will also issue distributors and resellers our updated Declaration of Conformity to (EU) 2019/1009 so that you can fulfil your obligations as a distributor / reseller of APT.

5. I received some products from my distributor, but they do not bear the new labels as shown above. What do I do?

In this transition period, not all APT fertilizers in circulation are CE-marked. If you require CE-marking, there are 2 options.
a) Get APT from a distributor that has CE-marked APT fertilizers. Basically all the latest batches would have the updated labels, but older batches may not.
b) Contact us to receive updated labels that you can add to your APT fertilizers. 

 


Note: the above circular is intended for information only and does not constitute legal advice.

  1. Regulation (EU) 2019/1009
  2. Regulation (EC) No. 2003/2003
  3. a substance, mixture, micro- organism or any other material, applied or intended to be applied on plants or their rhizosphere or on mushrooms or their mycosphere, or intended to constitute the rhizosphere or mycosphere, either on its own or mixed with another material, for the purpose of providing the plants or mushrooms with nutrient or improving their nutrition efficiency.
  4. 25 CE Marked Product Categories
  5. More specifically, the European Economic Area (EEA).
  6. Question 2 (page 10) of FAQ, Brussels 21 Dec 2021
  7. PHYTOWEB
  8. Question 6.5 (page 16) of FAQ, Brussels 21 Dec 2021
  9. Refers specifically to fertilizers that comply with the ‘old’ regulation (EC) No. 2003/2003. Aquarium fertilizers in general do not meet the criteria of to be designated fertilizers under (EC) No. 2003/2003

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