8 checks to ensure your pesticide is not a fake

Growers are being urged to check their pesticides are genuine ahead of the spraying season, with an estimated 7-10% of products on the EU market being fake.

Trade in illegal pesticides, involving organised criminal gangs, is increasing around the world, and last year Europol seized 190t of illegal counterfeit pesticides on the Continent.

The Crop Protection Association stresses that these illegal pesticides are untested and uncontrolled and, therefore, may contain inferior or even dangerous and banned substances.

See also: Calls for tighter rules on illegal pesticides

To help you ensure your spray store only contains genuine products, the industry campaign, Watch Out for Illegal Pesticides, has put together eight simple checks to help you spot any fakes.

  1. Buy only known and reputable products from known and reputable suppliers. This is particularly important when buying online.
  2. Check the accreditation of advisers recommending and/or supplying crop protection products. They should be a Basis-registered agronomist.
  3. Always question unrealistic prices. If it seems too cheap or you have any doubts, ask your supplier/merchant where the product came from.
  4. Check that the product detailed on the invoice and delivery note matches the product ordered and delivered.
  5. Does the packaging look professional, is it tamper-proof and securely sealed and does it have a full label written in English?
  6. If you are familiar with the product, ensure the colour and appearance are as expected. A parallel import should look the same as the UK reference product.
  7. If you are told that the product “is the same as X’s” and is a parallel import, ask for confirmation that it was made by “company X” and ask which country it came from (you could ask what the original product was called). Remember that in order to qualify for a parallel import permit, a product must be authorised for sale and use in the EU country from which it is purchased and identical to one that is already authorised for sale and use in the UK.
  8.  Finally, if you are still unsure about the approval status of a pesticide product, check the label for details of the producer, approval holder and official authorisation. Look for it on the CRD database and check the notice(s) for full details of the product. You could also contact the manufacturer or your adviser for help.

Watch Out for Illegal Pesticides is a joint industry campaign launched to raise awareness of the risks of illegal pesticides.

The campaign is supported by the Voluntary Initiative and Red Tractor Assurance, with funding from the Crop Protection Association, National Farmers Union and Agricultural Industries Confederation.