1. What you need to know – the basics
Stopping counterfeit and illegal pesticides
Reporting counterfeit and illegal pesticides
The global trade in counterfeit and illegal pesticides is growing. With increasing quantities of fake and illegal pesticides produced, marketed and sold by organised criminals around the world, counterfeit and illegal pesticides present real risks to farmer’s health, the environment and the economy.
Counterfeit pesticides are fake products often produced and packaged to look like the genuine article. The widespread availability of technology needed to produce counterfeit and illegal pesticides, coupled with the lack of enforcement of existing laws and legislative loopholes all contribute to facilitate the trade of counterfeit products.
Falsely declared products regularly ignore the international labelling requirements designed to ensure safety during transport. Thus, highly toxic, flammable or otherwise hazardous substances are transported without regard for the safety of people or the environment.
Counterfeit and illegal pesticides damage the reputation of legitimate stakeholders and challenge sustainable agriculture. Additionally, the production, trade and use of counterfeit and illegal pesticides circumvents EU regulations and deprives Member States of revenue and tax.
As part of ECPA’s fight against the production of counterfeit and illegal pesticides, ECPA continues to work to raise awareness of the issues of counterfeit and illegal pesticides in the EU. ECPA strives to uphold stringent EU safety standards designed to safeguard the health and safety of farmers, consumers and the environment.
The content of counterfeit and illegal pesticides are unknown and have not been evaluated under EU regulatory processes for pesticides; the use of counterfeit and illegal pesticides can pose very real risks to farmers, the environment and the health of crops.
Countries that fail to manage this problem put their agricultural economy and trade and export reputation at risk.
In Europe, counterfeit and illegal pesticides fall in to two main categories, with an additional illegal product sub-category only applying to products within the EU:
Counterfeit and illegal pesticides can enter the European Union through various routes:
The import and entry (to the EU) of unapproved pesticides is illegal, but loopholes in several pieces of legislation make it easy for criminals to route their products to European farmers. In recent years enforcement authorities around Europe have stopped large quantities of counterfeit or illegal pesticides. But much more needs to be done.
Ways of fixing this problem include:
Counterfeit and illegal pesticides continue to threaten EU health & safety and sustainable agriculture despite the good work of customs officials and inspection services. Therefore, an effective monitoring and control of the market is essential.
ECPA strongly encourages farmers to know their supplier and avoid buying products from unknown sources. Counterfeit and illegal pesticides have no guaranteed effectiveness and come with high risk.
If you believe you have received a counterfeit plant protection product, it is important to contact the relevant authorities.