Inspection service NAK in the Netherlands has reportedly discovered counterfeit seed potato certificates, whereby the non-certified potatoes have been sold under false labels. The NAK, together with the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), is still hunting for the counterfeiters.
According to a report published in the Dutch magazine BoerenBusiness, there have been 3 Belgian farmers who have received seed potatoes with counterfeit labels and those farmers have subsequently warned the NAK. They became suspicious because of the poor quality of the labels, because they tore way too easily. Research showed that not only the label quality is different from good certificates, but that counterfeit grower numbers have also been used.
“According to the fake labels, these 3 farmers had bought seed of the Fontane variety,” says Arjan Kroon of the NAK. “However, this is probably not about seed potatoes, but about consumption potatoes or rejected seed potatoes.” NAK is still investigating whether there is a connection with the illegal seed trade that Breeders Trust warned about earlier .
The extent of the fraud is considerable, although it is not yet clear exactly what the amounts are. “Of course I hope that it remains with the farmers who have reported the fake, but I don’t expect it,” Kroon says. “Together with the NVWA, we are fully on the hunt for those who have done this. A number of companies are already involved.”
“When labels are forged, then the gate is down. That’s why we have already engaged a lawyer. The person who is caught forging the labels is immediately fined € 25,000,” Kroon reports.
BoerenBusiness reports that the NAK calls on growers and buyers to be alert to certificates and counterfeits. These forgeries can be recognized by a dot in the grower number, a label that is too easy to tear and a messy layout of the label.
Source: BoerenBusiness. Article by Anne Jan Doorn. Read the report in the Dutch language here