France proceeds with pesticide ban
Friday 29 June 2012
The French government has confirmed a ban on a pesticide treatment of oilseed rape over fears it may be harmful to bees. Stephane Le Foll, France’s new agriculture minister, announced the ministry will be pressing ahead with a ban on Cruiser OSR, manufactured by Swiss agrochemical giant Syngenta.
Having made clear his intention to withdraw the pesticide earlier in the month, the minister told the French press this morning, "I am withdrawing today the marketing permit for Cruiser OSR for rapeseed."
Although numerous factors are thought to be contributing to declines in numbers and species of bees worldwide, certain pesticides are widely thought to be contributing to losses, though agchem companies have denied this and claimed disease is having a greater impact.
Le Foll’s announcement follows a two week response period after he announced plans to introduce a ban on Cruiser OSR at the beginning of June. His decision was based on advice supplied by French food and environment safety agency ANSES.
ANSES scientists found during experiments that even low doses of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid found in Cruiser OSR, can have harmful effects on bees; the agency recommended the European Union introduce stricter assessments for agricultural chemicals, an opinion which was also expressed yesterday by the bloc’s food safety watchdog, the EFSA.
Today’s ban only covers the Cruiser seed treatment, not Cruiser used for maize and rapeseed spraying.
There have been calls to suspend use of several neonicotinoid pesticides in the EU in recent months; environmental organisation Friends of the Earth has mounted a campaign to encourage the UK government to review its licenses of neonicotinoids.