Recent moves by the European Commission and Parliament to remove many pesticides from the farmer's agrochemical armoury could not have been timed more inappropriately. This move not only puts at risk our farmers' ability to produce food efficiently, it also poses a particular threat to the poorest members of society who already struggle to meet the weekly food bill. No-one argues with the premise that crop protection products should be strictly regulated. However, that regulation should rely on independent, science-based scrutiny to ensure that, correctly applied, these products pose no threat to public health, or the environment in which they are used. In the UK, this regulatory framework has been applied rigorously for many years by the Pesticides Safety Directorate, along with other bodies such as the Food Standards Agency. The system has ensured critical scrutiny of products before they can be used. Independent surveys by the Pesticide Residues Committee show that about 70% of food tested is totally free from pesticides and where residues are detected, they are well below safety limits. The European Commission decided to review the pesticide authorisation process to introduce a hazard-based rather than risk-assessment approach. However the European Parliament aims to go much further and apply restrictions that would remove hundreds of widely used crop protection products across Europe. The drastic reduction would result from political drivers, not particular threats to food or environmental safety. This is a political step too far. The PSD - an independent government agency - has publicly stated that as a result of the European Parliament's proposals, "conventional commercial agriculture in the UK would not be achievable, with major impacts on crop yield and food quality". Developing new crop protection products is an expensive, long-term business. Typically, the timescale from discovery to marketing is eight or nine years. And the cost can be £150m or more. Much of this investment in time and cash is devoted to ensuring product safety, as well as efficacy against weed, disease or pest. This high cost of entry means replacement products cannot be produced at the drop of a hat. Yet a broad armoury of crop protection products is vital.