Illegal pesticides still being sold

29/11/2009 15:48

THE Consumer Council is now warning consumers on the continuous sale of ILLEGAL AND UNREGISTERED pesticides sold in parts of Suva, the western and northern division.

It has come to our attention that an unregistered pesticide, purposely designed to kill cockroaches, is being sold in some Chinese shops and used in restaurants. This must be stopped for the safety of consumers. The council regards this as a matter of urgency because it poses potentially hazardous risks to unsuspecting consumers who may have bought the product. SINCE IT IS IN POWDER FORM, IT HAS A HIGHER RISK OF AIR-BORNE CONTAMINATION. Consumers are at risk if they buy food from restaurants using this product to kill cockroaches.

We urge the consumers of Fiji to take strict precautions and not to purchase a pesticide titled “MieZhangQing” that is made in Asia (Picture attached).

Critical aspects of this pesticide were: labelling of the product – details of the origin of the product are absent; details of the ingredients are also missing; the poison logo is missing; and instructions are not translated into the vernacular language – it only provides a brief instruction on the “use Method” printed in English; and it breaches the Pesticide Act.

The absence of information on the active ingredients can lead to a potentially fatal situation should the product be mistakenly consumed by children or adults. A doctor treating someone who may have consumed or have been exposed to the product will be unable to identify the active ingredients and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

How it got into the country is also a question that must be raised. We call upon the relevant regulatory authorities and the Registrar of Pesticides to be more vigilant about its monitoring system.

The Council also spoke to the officials at the Registrar of Pesticides in Koronivia to ascertain its credentials and registration status. The registrar confirmed that they are still conducting a national survey on illegal pesticides and are fully aware of the number of traders and retailers selling the illegal and unregistered pesticide.

The Registrar clarified that all registered pesticides have registration numbers that are identifiable on the label. The registrar also clarified that labels on the pesticide products must be originals and not photocopied. Once their survey is complete, those found guilty will be required to withdraw its products off the shelves.

The Council reiterates that the sale of these potentially harmful items like “MieZhangQing” pesticides is illegal unless it goes through a proper channel of registration via the Registrar of Pesticides. While the health and safety issue is paramount, these cases violate Fair Trading laws pertaining to product information, standards and trade practices. The Council is issuing a warning to consumers to play safe in this delicate issue relating to their health and safety.