SNP MEP Alyn Smith has today issued a warning to Scotland's farmers and wholesalers to look closely at pesticide products before purchasing to make sure that they are legitimate.
Alyn's warning comes in the wake of reports that suggest that counterfeit pesticides now account for up to 25% of supplies in some European countries.
The European Union law enforcement agency Europol yesterday issued a statement which claimed that organised crime groups are “so well structured and so professional” that wholesalers are unaware they are buying counterfeit products. The statement also said that these illicit pesticides “threaten the health of farmers and consumers and pose a risk to the natural environment”.
Many counterfeit pesticides sold in EU countries appear to violate safety standards and may include banned chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and the production of hormones.
"The trade in illegal pesticides is big business, already amounting to billions of euros a year and rising.
"This trade is now so widespread and professional that it really is difficult to tell the difference between legitimate and counterfeit supplies, and even more so considering that, as often as not, these illegal products also use the packaging of big and well-recognised agrichemical companies such as Syngenta, Du Pont and BASF.
"I urge farmers and wholesalers to be vigilant when purchasing pesticides. While the illegal products may seem like a good deal, they can be toxic to people, toxic to animals and they are damaging to the environment. If the deal seems too good to be true then it probably is, especially considering the high input costs that farmers are faced with at the moment."
The Europol release is available at https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/press/europol-warns-growing-trade-counterfeit-pesticides-worth-billions-euros-year-1237