The European Union is to add a fourth pesticide to its list of products partially banned because of its harmful effect on bees, the bloc’s executive said Tuesday.
EU member states approved a proposal restricting the use of fipronil, contained in insecticides produced by companies including German chemicals giant BASF, from the start of next year.
Seeds treated with the product for a range of crops, including maize and sunflowers, are to be banned from use as of March 1 with exemptions for some seeds planted in greenhouses.
Bees play an important role in the pollination of crops, so the decrease in their numbers has posed economic and food-supply concerns.
EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg said Tuesday’s decision was ”another significant step” in tackling the decline in Europe’s bee population.
In April, the European Commission placed a two-year restriction on the chemicals clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, manufactured by Bayer and Syngenta, after research on the decline of the bee population by the European Food Safety Authority.
BASF has expressed disagreement with Tuesday’s decision and said it believed ”the decline in bee populations is caused by multiple and complex factors and that the restriction of fipronil will not contribute to protecting bees.”
The restriction would also ”limit growers’ access to valuable and approved technologies,” the company argued. (dpa)
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