This guidance note replaces the guidelines published by the Pesticides Safety Directorate (PSD) in November 2004.
Currently, under the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 it is an offence to advertise a plant protection product (PPP) unless that product has been authorised for sale, supply and advertisement under either the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) or the Plant Protection Products (Basic Conditions) Regulations 1997. The detailed controls are set out in Schedule 1 of the Control of Pesticides (Amendment) Regulations 1997 and the Plant Protection Products (basic Conditions) Regulations 1997.
The Regulations apply to all plant protection products and cover new products, which may not be advertised until they have been authorised. This guidance takes account of the provisions of Article 66 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 which will come into effect on 14th June 2011.
For the purpose of these Regulations, an advertisement is a communication intended to promote the sale or use of plant protection products (or range of PPPs) to persons entitled to store, sell, supply, or use such products, such as farmers, growers and trade customers.
More advice on what constitutes an advertisement can be found in the Annex to this note.
- Advertisements must not include any claims for safety not included in the authorisation.
- An advertisement will not include illustrations or other visual representations of potentially dangerous practices such as mixing, applying without correct protective clothing, show use near food, or use by or near children.
- An advertisement shall not include information in text or graphic form which could be misleading concerning possible risks to humans, animals or the wider environment.
- Terms such as ‘non-toxic’ or ‘harmless’ may not be used, although a product may be described in an advert as being ‘authorised as a low-risk plant protection product in accordance with Regulation 1107/2009’, provided that it has been authorised as ‘low-risk’ under the Regulation.
- All advertising material, other than a notice at the point of sale which is intended to draw attention solely to product name and price, must include details of each active substance included in the authorisation given for each product.
- An advertisement must draw appropriate attention to the warning phrases and symbols required on the product’s label; for example, by providing relevant references to further information on a website, or in technical literature or on the product label. Where reference is made to technical literature or the product label, these must be readily available prior to the point of purchase.
- A price list consisting just of product names and their price will not need to state the active ingredient in each product.
- Once a product has an authorisation, it may be advertised by others as well as the authorisation holder.
- Advertising the sale, supply or use of unauthorised products in the UK, which includes new products awaiting authorisation (see below), is an offence even if the advertisement was placed or published outside the UK.
- Products granted an Experimental Authorisation may not be advertised.
- All statements used in advertising shall be technically justifiable.
Previously every advert for a plant protection product had to contain the phrase ‘Always read the label. Use pesticides safely’. The new regulation (1107/2009/EEC) incorporates these phrases and provides that every advert for a plant protection product MUST contain the following general warning:
"Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use"
These sentences shall be easily legible and clearly distinguishable in relation to the whole advertisement. Where appropriate this wording may be amended to include a more precise description of the plant protection product, for example, ‘fungicide’, ‘insecticide’ or ‘herbicide’; or, on garden products, phrases such as ‘weedkiller’ or ‘slug killer'. General phrases such as ‘garden care chemicals’ must not be used.
It is acceptable for advertisers to start using the new phrases prior to 14 June 2011, to ensure that they appear on all advertising and promotional material from that date. CRD will take a proportionate approach to dealing with any advertising material that does not meet the new requirements after 14 June 2011 provided the material is amended at the earliest practicable opportunity.
The regulations do not concern advertisements that
- promote companies themselves or services relating to pesticides, for example companies that apply pesticides or provide pest treatment services;
- are for products intended solely for export from the United Kingdom, but in these cases this needs to be made clear in the advert.
BUT Commercial services that include spraying particular products as a part of their service are covered by these regulations.
It is unlawful to advertise anything about a product including its trade name, packaging, labelling and any claims for its specific uses, or for its effectiveness before authorisation has been granted. To do so, means that an offence under the above Regulations has been committed.
However, ahead of authorisation it is permissible to publish factual information about the proposed product. This may explain what the new product will do, but this should not include its name, price or any indication that it is being offered for sale or supply. The article should make it clear that an application for formal approval has been submitted to HSE - CRD.
In summary, for products awaiting approval authorisation, companies should not:
- Invite orders and/or cite product price. This could amount to sale and supply of an unauthorised product, which is an offence;
- Identify the product, for example by citing the product name;
- Make claims for the effectiveness or safety of the product.
Provided the above restrictions are adhered to, it would be acceptable to display representative packaging for the non- authorised product, to give an indication of how it would look, if authorised. The packaging could indicate size, colours, physical form, and may include labelling albeit restricted to a general description of the pesticide and its uses: e.g a herbicide for use on home garden paths. This should be coupled with a statement such as "please note, this [herbicide] is not currently authorised - authorisation is being sought from HSE-CRD".
Guidelines on what is and what is not an advertisement
An advertisement is a communication addressed to potential customers and users that identifies and promotes the sale and use of a product. The advert could be pictorial, broadcast or recorded and includes any media that is stored or transmitted by electronic means, such as uploading on the internet or email messages. Promotional brochures and mailings are also included whether individually addressed or not. The regulations apply to sponsorships and exhibitions (for example trade fairs and conferences), also aerial announcements and gifts.
An advertisement has the following properties:
- The product(s) is identified with a name, a logo or other distinctive packaging and claims are made for its effectiveness.
- It is addressed to anyone other than the approval holder, marketing company or their agents, for example to farmers, growers and trade customers.
- It is intended to promote sales or use of the product(s)
- The borderline between advertising and informing may sometimes be indistinct, however an advertisement involves
- being issued, or paid for, by the company or organisation promoting the product; and
- attempting to increase market interest in the product and consequently expecting financial benefit
But, an advertisement is not, for example:
- An independent publication, e.g.
- A communication which is purely internal and not public.
- The approved label and packaging of the product including any leaflet which is supplied with the product containing factual information or instructions.
- A report of trials and experiments or a paper or article, whether oral or published in the scientific literature, which is purely factual. The report, paper or articles etc not being used to advertise the product.
- A safety data sheet or other information relating to product safety.