Bayer: "a sad day for farmers and bad news for Europe"
The company considers that the restriction of the neocotinoids is an "unjustified measure, since they are safe if used according to the label".
The decision announced on Friday by the EU Member States to restrict the use of certain neonicotinoids to applications in permanent greenhouses is bad news for the European agricultural sector and the environment that also will not improve the health of bees or other pollinators. This decision will further reduce the ability of European farmers to cope with major pests, for many of which there are no alternative treatments available.
Bayer remains convinced that the restrictions are not justified, since neonicotinoids are safe when used in accordance with the instructions on the label. Even under the extremely conservative evaluation criteria of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the most recent risk assessment reports for beesą did not entail high risks for many uses of neonicotinoids in which a definitive risk conclusion could be reached; in those cases, only reduced risks were found for honey bees and, in most cases, also for wild bees.
Bayer is surprised that, once again, legislative measures are being applied without a prior comprehensive impact assessment. Beyond the costs for European farmers, the existing restrictions have already had considerable unforeseen consequences: the lack of alternative solutions; more spray applications, which generates more CO2 emissions; an increased risk of resistance to insecticides; and a return to older and less effective chemicals.
Numerous recent studies, among others, carried out by the Joint Resources Center of the European Commission˛, have highlighted the impact of these restrictions. Currently, the European crop protection industry will not be able to offer any registered seed treatment or soil applied insecticides that can replace the current use patterns of imidacloprid and clothianidin.
It is also disconcerting that Member States have been asked to take a decision at this time, given that the verdict of the ongoing court case (which examines the legal basis for the 2013 restrictions) has not yet been issued; which will be resolved next May 17. The reversal of the current restrictions could have profound implications for the legal justification of the new proposals.
Finally, the restrictions are intended to address the supposed risks that the substances represent for the health of bees. Bayer cares about bees, in fact, they are essential for pollination of many crops, but there are other better ways to support the health of pollinators, such as increasing pollinator feeding options, improving natural habitats and more efficient control of the varroa mite, which ban substances that have helped farmers effectively manage a wide range of important pests.
As a leading agricultural company that maintains a strong commitment to the health of pollinators, Bayer works with partners around the world to improve habitat and nutrition, better understand the science behind the health of pollinators and improve management and the communication between farmers and beekeepers.
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