IPM Essen showcases MPS pesticide checking initiative

At IPM Essen, Netherlands-based sustainability organistation MPS was promoting the Product Proof sustainability initiative, which will roll out in the horticultural sector in the fourth quarter.

This will offer growers many advantages combined with the announced collaboration with GLOBAL GAP, says MPS.

Product Proof is a system that is able to demonstrate that certain active substances were not used in cultivation by means of compulsory daily registration and independent sampling. Tests are performed to, for example, ascertain whether an active substance was administered in accordance with the label and whether the substance is registered on a daily basis. Tests also examine whether the active substance appears on the so-called 'bee unfriendly' list and whether it belongs to the neonicotinoids group. A verification of the restrictions, which a specific customer has imposed, completes the process and affords Product Proof a tailor-made character.

Growers that possess an MPS-ABC certificate are eligible for Product Proof.

MPS director Theo de Groot said: "Recent developments clearly demonstrate the importance of introducing a system that proves certain active substances have not been administered during cultivation," referring to the measure proposed by Dutch Agriculture State Secretary Martijn Van Dam banning imidacloprid.

Also, Aldi Süd in Germany is the first big retailer in Europe to ban eight neonicotinoid pesticides from domestic fruits and vegetables produced for their markets.

De Groot added: "Retailers will increasingly act on the basis of hard numbers instead of whether a certificate has been obtained or not. In the United States it is the most normal thing in the world for a retailer to have detailed insight into company-specific figures related to a grower's environmental impact. Launching Product Proof allows us to join this development.

"At the moment it is possible for a producer to be visited by two different auditors two days in a row for different certificates. The audits could have major overlaps. This is not particularly efficient from the grower's perspective.

"GLOBAL GAP may have originated in the vegetable sector but the pressure from retailers is ever increasing in the horticultural sector too."

Thanks to the collaboration between MPS and GLOBALG.A.P. in future, growers can be (remain) eligible for both MPS-ABC and GLOBAL GAP certification with a single audit. Another advantage is that the grower is now free to choose the certification institution.

MPS are at Essen at stand 1D12.06 in hall 1. 

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