Counterfeit pesticides represent 13.8% of all pesticides sold in the EU and harm the European economy, damages legitimate businesses, stifles innovation and puts numerous jobs at risk.
This is according to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) which, under shared operational intelligence with the customs authorities in China, Ukraine, Russia and Colombia, seized 1,346 tons of illicit and counterfeit pesticides last year.
The seizure was carried out under Operation Silver Axe, and the products are being regarded as “posing a major risk to public health and the environment if they ever reach the open market”.
"The traffic of illicit and/or counterfeit pesticides is one of the most profitable businesses for international fraudsters, and is estimated to represent up to 13.8% of all pesticides sold in the EU,” OLAF Director-General, Ville Itälä, said.
“It harms the European economy and comes with serious risks.
“Pesticides must undergo rigorous testing before being placed on the EU market, and the illegal pesticides, which are mostly untested and composed of active substances banned in the EU but still in use in other parts of the world, can pose significant health risks for farmers and consumers.
“They are also considered harmful to the environment by causing damage to flora, fauna and soils.”
Meanwhile, Operation Silver Axe is now in its fifth year, and during that time has seized 2,568 tons of illegal pesticides.