WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES)

Quality control

WHO specifications for public health pesticides


WHO establishes and publishes specifications for technical material and related formulations of public health pesticides with the objective that these specifications may be used to provide an international point of reference against which products can be judged either for regulatory purposes or in commercial dealings.

From 2002, the development of WHO specifications has followed a new procedure, described in the Manual for development and use of FAO and WHO specifications for pesticides. This new procedure follows a formal and transparent evaluation process. It describes the minimum data package, the procedure and evaluation applied by WHO and the experts of the "FAO/WHO Joint Meeting on Pesticide Specifications" (JMPS).

WHO specifications for technical material, developed under the new procedure, do not necessarily apply to nominally similar products of other manufacturer(s), nor to those where the active ingredient is produced by other routes of manufacture. WHO is able to extend the scope of the specifications to similar products, but only when JMPS is satisfied that the additional products are equivalent to those which formed the basis of the reference specification.

Equivalence means the determination of the similarity of the impurity and toxicological profile, as well as the physical and chemical properties, presented by supposedly similar technical material originating from different manufacturers, in order to assess whether they present similar levels of risk.

WHO specifications for formulations developed under the new procedure, unless otherwise stated, encompass the products of all formulators legitimately able to certify that their products contain only active ingredient sourced from a manufacturer to whom the WHO specification for TC/TK applies. Buyers and/or regulatory authorities should demand such certification and ensure both that it is valid and that the products fully comply with the physical and chemical requirements of the WHO specifications.

Pre-shipment analysis of pesticide consignments will ensure that the product offered meets the relevant specifications before shipment, thereby avoiding subsequent problems if the product delivered is of poor quality. Quality control on arrival or after shipment may be required if the traceability of the product cannot be guaranteed, if the product appears to have been tampered with or if it is known to have been exposed to unacceptable shipping and storage conditions.

Disclaimer

Disclaimers are applicable to all WHO specifications

Manual on development and use of FAO and WHO specifications for pesticides

In 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization agreed to develop specifications for pesticides jointly, thus providing unique, robust and universally applicable standards for pesticide quality.

This joint programme is based on a Memorandum of Understanding between the two Organizations. The Manual on development and use of FAO and WHO specifications for pesticides is the first publication of this joint programme and supersedes all previous manuals and guidance documents published by either FAO or WHO on this subject.
It provides the standard process, unified requirements and procedures, harmonized definitions and nomenclature, technical guidelines and standards applicable to pesticides for use in agriculture and public health.

The manual will continue to evolve to reflect experience and continuing scientific and technological developments in pesticides, formulations, product testing, and in data assessment.

Manual on development and use of FAO and WHO specifications for pesticides - Second Revision of the first edition.

Specifications for pesticides: a training manual — Participant's guide


This manual provides guidance to the facilitator’s of training courses intended for personnel with responsibility for defining and ensuring the acceptability of pesticide product quality. It provides an introduction to the principles and practice of defining acceptable quality and equivalence of pesticides, to assist both governments and industry to strengthen the underlying procedures required for quality control of pesticides used in agriculture and public health. The structure of the document includes learning units and team exercises.
Ref: WHO/HTM/NTD/WHOPES/2013.5

Specifications for pesticides: a training manual — Facilitator's guide (only available upon request: whopes@who.int)


This manual provides guidance to the participants of training courses intended for personnel with responsibility for defining and ensuring the acceptability of pesticide product quality. It provides an introduction to the principles and practice of defining acceptable quality and equivalence of pesticides, to assist both governments and industry to strengthen the underlying procedures required for quality control of pesticides used in agriculture and public health.
Ref: WHO/HTM/NTD/WHOPES/2013.4

Quality control of pesticides products. Guidelines for national laboratories


The aim of this document is to provide a general guidance for the establishment or strenghthening of national pesticide quality control activities. The scope of the guidelines is not restricted to the control of quality in conducting specific analyses, but extends to the full range management activities related to the operation of the laboratory, including organization, staff, procedures, and the facilities involved.
Ref:WHO/CDS/WHOPES/GCDPP/2005.15

Guidelines for procuring public health pesticides
Ref: WHO/HTM/NTD/WHOPES/2012.4 | French (web only)

Pesticides and their application for the control of vectors and pests of public health importance, Sixth Edition [pdf 608kb]

Contact us

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at whopes@who.int

WHOPES evaluation

Insecticide products and application equipment under WHOPES evaluation [pdf 15kb]

WHOPES collaborating centres

Collaborating Centres [pdf 48kb]