The topic of counterfeit on the plant protection products market (especially in cases where agricultural producers knowingly purchase and use counterfeit or unregistered drugs in Russia) is not one of those that are actively discussed in the open space: people do not want to attract the attention of regulatory authorities, but do not always think about what exactly the risk.
In the last two or three years in the southern regions of Russia, according to unofficial data, there has been a surge in the interest of farmers in the pesticide of the first hazard class isophenphos-methyl. Unofficial, because in Russia there are no registered drugs based on this substance, but in conversations "without a dictaphone" farmers confirm this information.
“This is massive, it’s like a fire in our south,” one of the agricultural producers shares his observations with the journalist of “Potato System”. ...
The drug obviously does not have the best reputation in terms of safety for the consumer, although in reality there is little reliable information about it, it is too old a remedy: isophenphos-methyl was first registered in 1975.
According to the data provided to the journal by the press service of the Rosselkhoznadzor, isophenphos-methyl is characterized by high acute oral toxicity for humans (LD50 21,52 mg / kg). Appeared in circulation simultaneously with isophenphos, however, the long-term effects of its effect on the human body are much less studied. Isofenphos and isophenophos-methyl are classified as hazardous by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Based on systematic review methods developed by the US National Toxicology Program, these drugs are also listed as endocrine disruptors. In the European Union, these substances are classified as “obsolete”. In China, isophenphos-methyl, along with other highly toxic drugs, is gradually being phased out of circulation.
What attracts modern farmers to an outdated and very dangerous drug?
According to Konstantin Onatsky, FMC's crop and product manager, isophenphos-methyl began to be used in the fields of Volgograd, Rostov and some other southern regions of Russia, trying to get rid of tobacco thrips on onions. Although the expert is sure that the difficulties in combating the pest were caused not by the lack of effective and approved drugs on the market, but by the inability to work with them (non-compliance with the rules of use).
The use of isophenphos-methyl, from the point of view of a specialist, carries with it a lot of risks for the enterprise (in addition to reputation and legal). “This is a Chinese-made drug,” comments Konstantin Onatsky, “We do not know what impurities it contains in addition to the active substance, but they can also be toxic, and how dangerous they are for humans and culture, how long they will remain in the soil and how they will act for planting in the next seasons, it is not known.
Cases when treatments with counterfeit drugs lead to serious damage to plants, and even to the complete death of crops, are recorded in Russia every year.
Let's not forget that the use of low-quality pesticides damages the environment (causes pollution of soil, groundwater and surface waters), and severely affects the health of food consumers.
However, this does not stop anyone: according to the Russian Union of Manufacturers of Chemical Plant Protection Products, in some regions the market share of counterfeit and falsified pesticides reaches 30%.
One of the reasons is the availability of such drugs. Ads for the sale of the same isofenphos-methyl can be easily found in social networks and instant messengers.
The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) is now responsible for monitoring the import of pesticides and agrochemicals into the territory of Russia, as well as over the observance of the regulations for their use in the production of agricultural products. But the organization has been performing these functions only since June 29 of this year, since the entry into force of the new edition of Federal Law No. 109-FZ “On the Safe Handling of Pesticides and Agrochemicals”.
From this day on, all foreign-made pesticides and agrochemicals enter our country through certain border checkpoints (there are 14 of them in total), equipped with special equipment that allows you to track the volume and quality of imported products.
At the same time, the authority of the Rosselkhoznadzor does not include the control of pesticides and agrochemicals supplied to us from the countries that are members of the Eurasian Economic Union, and this is the root of the problem. According to the observations of service experts, Chinese manufacturers in recent years have reoriented the supply of drugs withdrawn from circulation in the Middle Kingdom to the poorly controlled markets of Central Asian countries, from where these drugs easily penetrate into Russia. By the way, according to the observations of farmers, isophenphos-methyl goes exactly this way: from China it goes to Kazakhstan, and only then to Russian fields.
"In the conditions of open borders between the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, it is impossible to ensure the effectiveness of countering the circulation of counterfeit pesticides and agrochemicals only through the efforts of the Rosselkhoznadzor," the department comments on the situation.
To block the road to unregistered and counterfeit drugs, a general decision of the EAEU is required, possible options have already been discussed by the parties (in particular, a meeting on a relevant topic was held at the site of the Eurasian Economic Commission on August 4), but the proposals of the Rosselkhoznadzor have not yet been supported.
Meanwhile, not only pesticides of dubious origin and content, but also fruits and vegetables grown with their use, pose a threat to the health of citizens.
First of all, we are talking about imported vegetables and fruits, the volumes of supplies of which to Russia for a number of names have grown significantly over the past year. As you know, at the moment, when imported into the country, these goods are not checked for the content of residual amounts of pesticides and agrochemicals, but each batch is carefully analyzed for the presence of quarantine objects for the EAEU. Manufacturers, fearing the return of goods, often deliberately increase the processing rates, and these products are freely supplied to Russian stores.
The solution to this problem, from the point of view of Rosselkhoznadzor, should be the introduction of amendments to the legislation in the field of safe handling of pesticides and agrochemicals, providing the agency with the authority for this type of control on the principle "from field to counter", including with respect to products imported from other countries.
“Selective control of the safety of manufactured products directly from the manufacturer or during customs clearance of imported products before they are divided into small lots and go on sale is the only possible mechanism for both preventing the circulation of unsafe products and identifying manufacturers and importers who do not comply with the regulations the use of pesticides ", - say experts of the Rosselkhoznadzor.
It is difficult to say whether the area of responsibility of the Service will be expanded. It should be reminded that until this year the Rosselkhoznadzor had no authority to supervise the turnover of pesticides for 10 years.