Bumble Bee Study Does Not Affect Neonicotinoid Conclusions, EFSA Says

5 June 2013 --- EFSA has identified several weaknesses in a study, published by the UK Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), which suggested that neonicotinoid pesticides do not have a major effect on bumble bee colonies under field conditions.

Given these weaknesses, the Authority considers that the study does not affect the conclusions reached by EFSA regarding risks for bees related to the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid, published in January 2013.

The Authority made the following points regarding the relevance of the study, Effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies under field conditions (Thompson et al.), to the risk assessments published by EFSA:
•EFSA’s assessments covered the authorised uses of a number of plant protection products containing thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid across the European Union. The FERA study looked at only one crop – oilseed rape – and two plant protection products – one containing clothianidin, the other imidacloprid – authorised for use in the UK. Furthermore, the test sites and surrounding areas used in the FERA study reflect a small sample of agricultural conditions in the UK and cannot be considered representative of conditions in other parts of the EU.
•Two important routes of exposure – dust and guttation – were not addressed by the FERA study.
•In its assessments, EFSA reached conclusions mainly for honey bees, and identified a data gap for other pollinators. Field studies of bumble bees cannot be used to understand the risks to honey bees and other pollinators because of significant species differences.

EFSA’s experts highlighted a number of other deficiencies in the report. These include:
•Inconsistencies and contradictory statements regarding the objectives of the study.
•Absence of suitable control bee colonies. In particular, analysis of residues in pollen and nectar showed that the “control” site had been contaminated by thiamethoxam.
•Environmental conditions were varied across the three the test sites, which reduces the sensitivity of the study in detecting effects on colonies.

EFSA also raised concerns about how Thompson et al. elaborated and interpreted the study results to reach their conclusions.

Related Articles

Business News

Hershey Cutting Calories in Classic Chocolate Bars

24 Apr 2017 --- US Chocolate giant Hershey has pledged that all of its standard and king-size confectionary range will come complete with easy-to-read front-of-pack labels which show the amount of calories by the end of next year. And half of all Hershey standard and king-size confections will be 200 calories or less by 2022, as part of the company’s “smart snacking promise”.

Business News

Special Report: An Industry Update on Sugar Taxes

24 Apr 2017 --- The soft drinks industry at large has been facing the sugar tax challenge for several years now against a backdrop of consumer demand for reduced-sugar products and increasing calls for governments to legislate on the issue. Reformulating a much-loved product by removing or replacing the sugar, while maintaining the familiar taste is a challenge for most companies. But that has not stopped the majority of key players from adding a wealth of no- or low-sugar lines to their portfolios.

Business News

Bunge Acquires Argentine Edible Oil Company

24 Apr 2017 --- Bunge Southern Cone and Aceitera Martínez S.A. have entered into an agreement to transfer all of Aceitera Martínez’s assets to Bunge. A family-run business for more than 60 years, Aceitera Martínez specializes in the production and packaging of edible oils, including sunflower and soybean oil. 

Food Ingredients News

NHS and Leading Suppliers Vow to Reduce Sales of Sugary Drinks

24 Apr 2017 --- The UK National Health Service (NHS) has announced it is “stepping up the battle against obesity, diabetes and tooth decay” by declaring that sugary drinks will be banned in hospital shops from next year unless suppliers voluntarily take decisive action to cut their sales over the next 12 months. 

Food Research

Sunflower Seeds May Pose Increased Health Risk in Many Low-Income Countries

24 Apr 2017 --- Michigan State University researchers have shown that sunflower seeds are frequently contaminated with a toxin produced by molds and pose an increased health risk in many low-income countries worldwide. 

More Articles