31 May 2024

What are the keys to effectively combating illegal and counterfeit pesticides?

Counterfeit pesticides may contain less active substances, or co-formulants that are banned because of the risk to human health and the environment.

Reducing the administrative burden is a first step.

Our bibliographical review of regulations shows their complexity, the lack of interconnection between administrative databases and the great diversity of the competent international, European and national authorities involved.


The analysis of numerous illegal and genuine formulations is a major factor for success.

We analysed 400 samples of authentic formulations, formulations monitored by the FASFC and formulations that we deliberately adulterated. We considered the determination of active substances, relevant impurities, certain co-formulants or the complete profile (fingerprint, screening/profiling) of formulations, and the comparison to authentic, parallel import or counterfeit formulations.


One of the urgent needs is a rapid, inexpensive screening system that can be used directly in a pesticide warehouse.

The DEPIPEST project combines rapid screening by vibrational spectroscopy (MIR, Raman) with the chromatographic confirmation (GC-FID, GC-MS, UHPLC-UV/MS, LC-HRMS) of samples deemed suspect during screening. We tested several devices (MIR-ATR, FT-Raman, handheld Raman, Raman microscopy) and sample presentations. Statistical processing using main component analysis provides encouraging results for formulation identification. We plan to develop chemometric and machine-learning techniques to take full advantage of spectroscopic analyses.


Finally, another essential point is the setting up of a database linking administrative information on pesticides with their spectroscopic and chromatographic analytical data.


Financed by SPF Santé publique, sécurité de la chaîne alimentaire et environnement (Public health, food chain safety and the environment)


Photo caption: Measurement of a pesticide formulation using a portable Raman device


On the same subject

#Analyse #Pesticides