Syngenta: EFSA pesticide report on bees is flawed

Syngenta has requested the European Commission retract its proposal to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

The Swiss agrichemical company made the request after claiming that the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) report on the risks to bees from neonicotinoid use was “fundamentally flawed”.

Syngenta submitted a response to the EFSA report, which highlighted a “number of risks” posed by neonicotinoids to bees, in January.

This showed that EFSA failed to consider key information proving the safety of thiamethoxam seed treatment for use on crops such as oilseed rape and sunflowers.

Further review has now shown that EFSA based its assessment on unrealistic and excessive seed planting rates between two and four times higher than would be used under modern agricultural practice, Syngenta said.

“These latest findings undermine the basis for such action, which would bring considerable economic harm to growers and absolutely no benefit to bees. The European Commission must halt the current process and undertake a comprehensive review to identify the true risks to bee health.”
John Atkin, Syngenta’s chief operating officer

Had EFSA used normal sowing rates they would have concluded that the risk to bees is extremely low and that in reality neonicotinoid technology does not damage their health, the company concluded.

Syngenta’s chief operating officer, John Atkin, said: “The European Commission has been using this flawed EFSA report to justify proposed restrictions on this technology.

“These latest findings undermine the basis for such action, which would bring considerable economic harm to growers and absolutely no benefit to bees. The European Commission must halt the current process and undertake a comprehensive review to identify the true risks to bee health.”

Syngenta has written to all EU member states and the European Commission to inform them of these findings.

On 25 February, member states will be asked to vote on the commission’s proposal for a two-year ban on the use of neonicotinoids on crops considered attractive to bees, such as oilseed rape, maize, sunflowers and cotton.

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