Europol, along with support from the European Anti-Fraud Office, has seized 360 tonnes of counterfeit pesticides, the largest ever pesticides seizure carried out by the EU’s law enforcement agency. The seizures were made as part of Europol’s Operation Silver Axe III. Checks were carried out at seaports, airports and land borders.
Pesticides can only be traded in the EU if the products are proven safe and authorized. However, it is estimated that counterfeit and illegal pesticides make up almost 14 percent of the market. The 360 tonnes of counterfeit pesticides seized equates to 48,000 kilometres worth of spray.
Wil van Gemert, Europol’s deputy executive director of operations, commented: “The record volume of hazardous substances seized this year is an important step in stemming the flow of potentially lethal products into the EU marketplace. The complexity and scale of this fraud mean cooperation needs to happen across borders with a multi-agency approach, working hand in hand with the private sector.”
Paul Maier, director of the EU Intellectual Property Office’s (EUIPO) observatory on infringements of IP rights, said: “The EUIPO’s own research shows that every year, across the EU, €1.3 billion is lost due to counterfeit pesticides. That is just the economic cost – the potentially harmful effects that counterfeit pesticides can have on the food chain, and consequently, the health and safety of consumers, is extremely worrying.”