EU assesses fipronil risk to bees; BASF responds

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The European Union’s European Food Safety Authority issued its report on the risks to honey bees from fipronil seed treatments used on corn. EFSA was asked to perform a risk assessment of fipronil, with a particular focus on the acute and chronic effects on colony survival and development and the effects of sublethal doses on bee mortality and behavior.

EFSA concluded the following:

  • Risk from dust drift: A high acute risk was identified for maize. For other field crops, including sunflower, full risk assessments could not be completed so the level of risk from exposure to dust originating from seed drilling could not be established.
  • Nectar and pollen: The available studies – field and semi-field – had weaknesses and thus were insufficient to establish the level of risk to honey bees from the use of fipronil as a treatment for sunflower and maize seed. However, there was deemed to be a low risk to honey bees from the authorized use of fipronil on vegetables, as these cannot be foraged for pollen and nectar.
  • Several gaps were identified in the available data related to other potential routes of exposure.

BASF commented on the EFSA’s assessment, saying the assessment does not highlight any new risk to bee health from approves uses of the insecticide fipronil. BASF concluded that banning the use of fipronil would not protect bee health, and said the assessment failed to take into account the multiple complex factors related to bee health.

“Bees play an important role in agriculture, as they are major pollinators for plants and crops. Our business is very dependent on bees; therefore, it is in our best interest to understand the real causes of the decline in bee health and act upon them”, said Jürgen Oldeweme, senior vice president global product safety and regulatory affairs for BASF’s Crop Protection division. “Nonetheless, the problem of declining bee health must be addressed via a holistic approach and not by singling out certain technologies that have a solid record of safe use, such as fipronil.”

BASF also points out that EFSA’s latest risk assessment regarding fipronil focuses heavily on new technical areas for which no established evaluation criteria are yet available. No cases of bee mortality have been attributed to the application of fipronil seed treatment products, when used according to approved label instructions. “By restricting the use of fipronil-based products, European authorities will not accomplish their goal of preserving bee health. Instead, it will add one more restriction and limitation to growers and the overall food production in Europe,” added Oldeweme.

BASF has been actively supporting research projects that investigate problems related to bee health.

“We are open to discuss with EFSA and the European Commission which additional studies and measures can be performed to further ensure protection of bees. We support any reasonable data gathering that can lead us in this direction,” concluded Oldeweme. BASF has also taken a proactive step by introducing innovative application technologies for fipronil-based products.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Blend and Bulk Tower Systems

Waconia Towers provide speed, efficiency and reliability that only gravity-fed systems can offer. Towers are available with up to 300 ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form