Fake seed potato certificates discovered in Netherlands

The authorities in the Netherlands have discovered counterfeit seed potato certificates, after a tip-off from farmers in Belgium.

A report in Boeren Business highlights a case in which three farmers purchased supposedly certified Fontane variety seed potatoes with labels that on closer inspection appeared suspicious, mainly because they were of particularly low quality. A subsequent investigation revealed that the seed potatoes had fake grower numbers.

Counterfeit seeds are an emerging and growing problem for the agriculture sector, and can hit farmers hard if they inadvertently plant poor quality seeds that result in a poor or failed harvest and may be less resistant to diseases.

In some recent cases it has been shown that fraudulent traders have substituted potatoes intended for consumption for seed potatoes, in order to bulk up lots for sale.

Last month, Brussels-based Breeders Trust – an organisation representing 10 seed potato breeding companies from Germany, the Netherlands, France and Denmark – warned that several traders were involved in illegal buying and selling of protected seed potato varieties.

Last year, the organisation uncovered a major fraud that involved the switching of at least 200 tons of potatoes meant for consumption to seed potatoes by a Dutch grower, Seed Company Mts. H. te Luttelgeest.

Inspection service NAK is investigating the case with the help of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), and a spokesman told Boeren Business that a number of companies are under scrutiny. The label forger is facing a €25,000 fine.

Photo by Agence Producteurs Locaux Damien Kühn on Unsplash

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