The Italian Government has recently introduced an extensive reform of the penalty system on violations of EU Regulations No 1107/2009 and No 547/2011 on plant protection products ("PPPs").

Published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale (the Italian Official Gazette) on 6 May 2014 and scheduled to enter into force on 21 May 2014, the Legislative Decree No 69 of 17 April 2014 repeals the previously existing rules on this matter (i.e. Articles 23-28, Legislative Decree No 194 of 17 March 1995, implemented under Directive 91/414/CEE) and provides an accurate set of penalties for infractions related to placement on the market, labelling and advertising of PPPs.

In a nutshell, the system is reorganized and penalties for unlawful placement on the market and mislabelling of PPPs are consolidated in a single text. This better structured system is likely to be beneficial to the Competent Authorities, resulting eventually in a faster and more extended enforcement against violations. At the same time, users must consider the fact that the new legislation almost trebles the maximum fines for some common violations such as the placement on the market of unauthorised PPPs. As a consequence, typical violations of Regulation No 1107/2009, such as marketing products as fertilizers, which are in fact PPPs (i.e. without the due authorisation), will be punished with fines up to EUR 150 000. Also, in the majority of the cases, the infractions also entail the revocation of the authorisation for business activity. Lastly, the administrative penalties are provided in addition to the eventual criminal liability of the person violating the law.

An overview of the most important authorisation- and advertising-related penalties is included below. The Decree also provides further penalties on duplication of tests, violation of the duty of compulsory communications to the Ministero della Salute (Minister of Health), as well as data keeping.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.