Syngenta requested that the European Commission retract its proposal to restrict the use of neonicotinoid technology after revealing that the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) report on the risks to bees from their use was fundamentally flawed.

Syngenta submitted a response to the EFSA report in January. This showed that EFSA failed to consider key information proving the safety of thiamethoxam seed treatment for use on crops such as oilseed rape and sunflower.

Further review has now shown that EFSA based its assessment on unrealistic and excessive seed planting rates between two and four times higher than would be used under modern agricultural practice.

Had EFSA used normal sowing rates they would have concluded that the risk to bees is extremely low and that in reality neonicotinoid technology does not damage their health.

Syngenta’s Chief Operating Officer, John Atkin, said: “The European Commission has been using this flawed EFSA report to justify proposed restrictions on this technology. These latest findings undermine the basis for such action, which would bring considerable economic harm to growers and absolutely no benefit to bees. The European Commission must halt the current process and undertake a comprehensive review to identify the true risks to bee health.”

Syngenta has written to all EU Member States and the European Commission to inform them of these findings.

For more information on the bee health challenge go to