(Beyond Pesticides, October, 10 2007) One of the largest chemical companies in the world, BASF Corporation, announced in a press release October 9, 2007 that it will get serious in its campaign against the use of illegal pesticides. The sale and distribution of unregistered or counterfeit pesticidal products is clearly prohibited under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), resulting in harm to public health and the environment. Several companies have recently been fined by the EPA for selling and distributing unregistered or mislabeled pesticide products (See Daily News Blogs: “EPA Fines Clorox Over Export Labels” and “Target Settles with EPA on Labeling Violations”).
BASF sees the problem as adversely affecting its bottom line. BASF Agricultural Products spends over 300 million euros in research and development, especially in the field of crop protection, to develop and launch new products. As a result, the company is on a state of alert to prevent activities which deliberately infringe its existing patents or which are illegal, including product counterfeiting and the sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides. The agricultural products division of BASF said that its worldwide fight against illegal pesticides would involve taking legal action for patent infringement, illegal imports of products, as well as illegal use of company brand names.
Division president Michael Heinz said, “Whether it’s an infringement of our patent rights, illegal imports or ineffective substances being sold under our brand names â€” we will relentlessly pursue all violations. This is part of our worldwide product responsibility, and we’re doing it to protect our customers.” Products with counterfeit labels and packaging are of great concern from a public health perspective. A discrepancy between a container’s label and its contents may not only be potentially dangerous for the users, but can pose significant economic damage in agriculture and elsewhere. In some cases, the product may contain hazardous and/or banned chemicals, or may contain chemicals that are completely ineffective.
Sources: Webwire and BASF press release.