The European Commission’s Health and Food Safety Directorate General commissioned the ‘ad-hoc study on the trade of illegal and counterfeit pesticides in the EU,’ which raises concerns about the effectiveness of parallel import regulation, in particular the lack of a uniform approach to repackaging and the ineffective sanctions for cases of misuse. The study recommends that EU provisions on parallel trade be reviewed in the context of the planned review of the legal framework for Plant Protection Product authorisation.
Crop Protection Association chief executive officer Nick von Westenholz said: "The CPA has been concerned for some time about the potential for abuse of legitimate parallel trade permits to place illegal pesticides on the UK market. Under the current system repackaging is allowed. Once the original package has been opened and the manufacturers seal has been broken it becomes very difficult to verify that the product inside is genuine. Whilst legitimate parallel importers may choose to repack for good reason, this provides a loophole that unscrupulous dealers can exploit.
"Our industry is committed to raising awareness of the dangers of illegal pesticides through the Watch Out! campaign. Through research, development, testing and the regulatory approvals process our members ensure that their products are safe for human health and the environment. That is not the case with illegal pesticides that are unregulated and uncontrolled and may pose genuine risks to human health, food, the environment, and farmers’ livelihoods.
"We would urge farmers and growers to be vigilant and avoid any unnecessary risks by only buying from reputable suppliers they know they can trust."