Ban on insecticides close in Europe
Lin Field, head of Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection at Rothamsted Research in Britain, said there is not enough evidence to support a total ban on neonicotinoids and questions whether the "precautionary principle" should apply and a ban should be imposed just in case the threat turns out to be real.
"On the face of it that might be the best solution but it takes no account of the risk of the ban on our ability to control insect pests and secure crop yields," she said.
SYNGENTA AND BAYER CROPSCIENCE
Syngenta Chief Operating Officer John Atkin said, “The European Commission has again failed to win the necessary support for its proposed ban on this vital technology. The proposal is based on poor science and ignores a wealth of evidence from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees. Instead of banning these products, the commission should now take the opportunity to address the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses and loss of habitat and nutrition.”
The proposed ban was triggered by a hurried and highly theoretical review by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA). It made fundamental mistakes including a serious over-estimation of the amount of pesticide bees are exposed to in the field. It also ignored key studies and independent monitoring, including recent data from the UK Government, which found no evidence that neonicotinoids impact bee health.
Bee health decline is among the biggest challenges facing agriculture. Syngenta again called on the European Commission to broaden efforts to tackle the real causes of bee health decline. Both Syngenta and Bayer CropScience have launched bee health plans—Syngenta’s bee health action plan and Bayer CropScience’s bee care program, which complements at least a decade of pollinator research by each company.
Bayer CropScience considers the decision by the Commission of the European Union to restrict the use of neonicotinoid-containing products across Europe as a set-back for technology, innovation and sustainability. Bayer CropScience observers saw that in the Appeals Committee meeting Monday, only half of the EU member states supported the commission’s proposal for the restrictions. The company believes that the plan by the Commission will not have a positive impact on bee health.
Bayer CropScience spokepersons noted the need for concern about restriction of these neonicotinoids resulting in crop yield losses, reduced food quality and loss of competitiveness for European agriculture. This will have a negative impact on farmers, R&D driven ag companies, the seed industry and the food value chain.