Pesticide product labels to be made clearer

The statutory area on pesticide product labels is to be replaced by an area headed ‘Important Information’.

The switch follows widespread confusion over whether label information printed outside the statutory area constitutes a legal requirement.

“Users tend to be under the impression they only need comply with the information contained in the statutory area, and do not appreciate using a pesticide in a manner that does not follow parts of the label may well be a breach of regulations,” the Pesticides Safety Directorate said in a statement on its website.

To resolve that problem and, hopefully, to remove any ambiguity, PSD now no longer requires labels to have a statutory area on the label. In addition, the following phrases should not be used: “Compliance with the following conditions of use and all safety precautions marked * is a legal requirement” and “Read all other safety precautions and directions for use before use”.

Instead labels will have a boxed area highlighting specific information about safe and effective use, provided it is labelled as ‘Important Information’. No indication must be given that this information is the only part of the label that contains ‘statutory’ information.

At the bottom of the ‘Important Information’ section the following phrase will also be printed on a labels, and on any separate or detachable leaflets: “Read the label before use. Using the product in a manner that is inconsistent with the label may be an offence. Follow the code of practice for using plant protection products”.

Making the changes should encourage users to read the whole label, rather than edited highlights, PSD said, enabling them to make professional judgements on the safe use of pesticides.

“It also emphasises the legal requirement to use all pesticides with ‘all reasonable precautions’, and not just comply with a limited number of precautions.”

The changes will come into affect over the next three years.

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