Fake pesticides threaten food safety

November 05, 2006

More than one in 20 pesticides sold in the EU could be fake, potentially endangering food safety and human health, writes Cath O'Driscoll in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

These counterfeits range from sophisticated copies of patented products to low-quality fakes with little or no resemblance to the original. And it is a problem that is getting worse every year, according to the European Crop Protection Association 'Clearly there are risks when products that have not been properly studied or evaluated are being brought onto the market,' said Roger Doig, President of the ECPA.

Several recent incidences highlight the extent of the problem. In February this year, a counterfeit herbicide used in Italy was found to contain quantities of a potentially dangerous insecticide. In 2004, hundreds of hectares of wheat were wiped out in France, Italy and Spain because of a fake herbicide. And a 2002 study of supermarket produce in the UK found traces of eight illegal and potentially dangerous compounds.

'Generally, speaking, it would be wrong to blame farmers [for buying the products] as in many cases they firmly believe they are buying legitimate products. We've had cases where only after farmers have come to us with a complaint have we identified the product as counterfeit,' says Doig.

DEFRA is currently investigating two companies suspected of acting illegally. Jean Train, spokesperson for the Pesticides Safety Directorate, told C&I "We are in the process of gathering evidence with intention to prosecute". This will add to the list of successful action PSD have already taken against companies dealing in illegal pesticides. Twenty-four companies were issued with warnings in October at the British Crop Protection Conference in Glasgow for illegally promoting products.

But Peter Sanguinetti, CEO of the UK Crop Protection Association (CPA) is quick to point out that the UK is ahead of the game. Counterfeit products account for 3% of the UK market, compared to 5-7% in the EU. 'The CPA actively encourages enforcements to prevent illegal imports. We recommend that farmers buy pesticides from a reliable source. CPA members sign a code of practice,' he says.

The EU crop protection market is worth €7.5bn. Counterfeits cost the EU between €21m and €30m in lost taxes. The ECPA recently launched a pan-European Anti-Counterfeit Programme, in an effort to get governments and regulators to use their powers to enforce regulatory policies.
-end-
Chemistry & Industry
Please acknowledge Chemistry & Industry as the source of these items. If publishing online, please include a hyperlink to http://www.chemind.org Please note Chemistry & Industry uses '&' in its title, please do not correct to 'and'.

About Chemistry & Industry
Chemistry & Industry magazine from SCI delivers news and comment from the interface between science and business. As well as covering industry and science, it focuses on developments that will be of significant commercial interest in five- to ten-years time. Published twice-monthly and free to SCI Members, it also carries authoritative features and reviews. Opinion-formers worldwide respect Chemistry & Industry for its independent insight.

About SCI
SCI is a unique international forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. Anyone can join, and the Society offers a chance to share information between sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science and safety. As well as publishing new research and running events, SCI has a growing database of member specialists who can give background information on a wide range of scientific issues. Originally established in 1881, SCI is a registered charity with members in over 70 countries.

Society of Chemical Industry

Related Human Health Articles from Brightsurf:

New theory sheds light on how the environment influences human health
Researchers at Mount Sinai have proposed a groundbreaking new way to study the interaction between complex biological systems in the body and the environment.

Are vultures spreaders of microbes that put human health at risk?
A new analysis published in IBIS examines whether bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that are present in wild vultures cause disease in the birds, and whether vultures play a role in spreading or preventing infectious diseases to humans and other animal species.

Roadside hedges protect human health at the cost of plant health
Roadside hedges take a hit to their health while reducing pollution exposure for humans.

New technique may reveal the health of human hair follicles
A new method developed by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) recently examines the activity of hair follicles and could be useful for testing the effects of different treatments on hair growth.

Songbird-body changes that allow migration may have human health implications
Songbirds that pack on as much as 50 percent of their body weight before migrating and that sleep very little, exhibit altered immune system and tissue-repair function during the journey, which may hold implications for human health, according to Penn State researchers.

New evidence on the role of the gut microbiome in improving human health
The gut microbiome is one of the fastest moving areas of science today.

Graphene and related materials safety: human health and the environment
Graphene Flagship researchers reviewed the current research into the safety of graphene and related materials looking at both human health and environmental impact.

What social stress in monkeys can tell us about human health
A new University of Washington-led study examines one key stress-inducing circumstance -- the effects of social hierarchy -- and how cells respond to the hormones that are released in response to that stress.

Arc welding fume is detrimental to human health
Working as part of an international group of toxicologists scientists of the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) have found that harmful nanoparticles are formed in the process of arc welding using the most common types of electrodes today.

Is there a risk to human health from microplastics?
The Austrian Federal Environment Agency and the Medical University of Vienna have presented the first preliminary results of a pilot study on microplastics (microplastic particles) in humans.

Read More: Human Health News and Human Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.