Better designed EU laws needed to counter increasing traffic in fake pesticides
Legislative improvements are needed to control the traffic in illegal pesticides and their use across Europe. Illegal pesticide use endangers the environment, consumer health and can ruin the food supply reputation of an agricultural region. The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) is carrying this message to the European Parliament during Anti-Counterfeit Week, organised by the European Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy.
“Loopholes in the EU’s current legislative framework for controlling the shipment of chemical products are providing an open door for the entry of counterfeit pesticides. We are collaborating closely with customs, regulatory authorities and enforcement agencies around Europe to use existing legislation more effectively, but to stop the traffic we need a legal framework that is better designed to deal with this specific threat.” said Friedhelm Schmider, Director General of ECPA.
“Farmers, consumers and the environment need good legislation that enforces the integrity of the supply chain. Customs and enforcement officials need the legislative tools to stop the traffic. Rapid action to adjust EU legislation will make swift detection, impoundment, investigation and prosecution a reality in Europe.”
Right now, EU legislation focuses more on the intellectual property aspects of counterfeiting rather than human and environmental safety which may be good for handbags but not for chemicals. This impedes the actions that customs, regulatory and enforcement officials can take to quickly seize incoming shipments and carry out investigations successfully.
“These products do not contain the ingredients claimed nor do they conform to any safety regulations. They are shipped by organized crime and have become a very lucrative business – generating over €1 billion a year. Shipments are made using fraudulent documents and packaging. Sometimes highly flammable substances are shipped by air without warnings or precautions, posing great hazard,” added Schmider. “Transport companies including airlines and vessel companies need to make sure they do not work with counterfeiters and deliver counterfeits to the EU by taking steps to know their customers".
“Partnering of customs and enforcement agencies has already achieved very positive results but helpful legislation is urgently needed to accelerate this activity. Stamping out the trade of illegal products is possible, but the task needs awareness and support at all levels to safeguard agriculture, the European food chain, human health and the environment.”