May 30, 2013


EFSA finds BASF insecticide poses risk to bees



A report released by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has identified a BASF insecticide as playing a significant role in the declining bee population.


In their report, EFSA concluded that BASF's Fipronil poses an 'acute risk to honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize (corn)'.


The report comes only one month after the EU restricted the use of three of the world's most widely used pesticides - clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam. The two-year ban hopes to revive the plunging bee population, critical to the production of crops.


BASF, which has until June 14 to file a complaint on the report, has said that EFSA's assessment does not highlight any new risk to bee health.


"BASF and other experts remain convinced that the currently observed decline in bee populations results from other causes than use of seed treatment products containing Fipronil."


"BASF also points out that EFSA's latest risk assessment... focuses heavily on new technical areas for which no established evaluation criteria are yet available." The company added: "No cases of bee mortality have been attributed to the application of Fipronil seed treatment products, when used according to approved label instruction."


Fibronil - based products have been on the market since 1993 and, although not widely used in Europe, are used in more than 70 countries worldwide.