Largest-ever seizure of illegal or counterfeit pesticides in Europol SILVER AXE operation

16-07-2018, 11:46 | Comments: 0
Some 360 tonnes of illegal or counterfeit pesticides were seized in Europe as the result of Operation SILVER AXE III, an annual operation coordinated by Europol with the support of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF).

Run over the course of 20 days, Operation SILVER AXE III saw checks being carried out at major seaports, airports and land borders, as well as production and repacking facilities in the following 27 participating countries: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, The Netherlands (the action leader) and Italy (co-leader).

Pesticides are one of the most regulated products in the world today, and can only be traded and used in the EU if the products are proven safe and authorised.

Operation Silver Axe focuses on the sale and placing on the market (imports) of counterfeit pesticides, including infringements of intellectual property rights such as trademarks, patents and copyright, as well as targeting the illegal trade of pesticides.

During the action phase, Europol experts exchanged and analysed data received from the participating countries, liaised with stakeholders from 43 private companies involved in the production and commerce of pesticides and provided on-the-spot support on request. OLAF, for its part, provided Europol and the participating countries with information on 180 suspicious shipments of pesticides transhipped in the European Union.

Cooperation with private industry and other European and international bodies was crucial to the success of the action. CropLife International, the European Crop Protection Association ECPA and the European Crop Care Association ECCA, representing the plant protection industry, and EC-DG SANTE, OLAF, INTERPOL and FAO from the public sector, participated in the preparation phase as well as during the operation.

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