Illegal pesticides 'up to 10 per cent' of European market

Tractor spreading pesticideCounterfeit and otherwise illegal pesticides represent a sizeable chunk of the EU market and are putting consumers' health at risk, says agricultural consultancy ADAS.

Citing figures which suggest the European market for illegal pesticides could be as much as €4.4m a year - which would equate to 7-10 per cent of the total trade in the region, ADAS notes that the activity is putting the public at risk of exposure to harmful residues in food and harming biodiversity.

"Businesses have a duty to ensure these types of pesticides are not used in order to protect the health of farmers, consumers and the environment," says ADAS, which suggests counterfeit and unlicensed pesticides comprise almost a third of the market in some markets, notably China.

China is something of a focal point for the trade, which is a concern as growth in exports from the country into the EU are outstripping those from other markets.

There are three main types of illegal and counterfeit pesticides that enter the European market, namely counterfeits disguised as genuine products , those which mimic genuine brands but are not identical, and illegal parallel imports.

"Evidence suggests that there are considerable differences between EU Member States in terms of their market share of illegal pesticides," says ADAS.

"In particular, EU Member States that border third countries (such as those in Eastern Europe) are generally those which are considered to have the highest levels of illegal pesticides."

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