Fiprinol restricted by EC

 Fipronil has been identified as posing an acute risk to Europe's honey bee population - image: Morguefile
Fipronil has been identified as posing an acute risk to Europe's honey bee population - image: Morguefile

A European Commission proposal to restrict the use of Fipronil, an insecticide recently identified as posing an acute risk to Europe's honey bee population, was backed by member state experts meeting on 16 July in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

This proposal follows a scientific risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that was published on 27 May 2013 which identified that seeds treated with pesticides containing Fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe's honey bee population.

Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health said:

"A few weeks ago, in the aftermath of the restriction on use of neonicotinoids, I pledged to do my utmost to protect Europe's honey bee population and today's agreement with Member States, not only delivers on that pledge but marks another significant step in realising the Commission's overall strategy to tackling Europe's bee decline."

Some 23 Member States supported the restriction, two member states voted against and three member states abstained during the standing committee vote.

This latest EU-wide restriction comes in the wake of a recent Commission decision to restrict the use of three pesticides belong to the neonicotinoid family which will come into force on 1 December 2013 as well as a guidance document on a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees published by EFSA on 12 July 2013.

The new measure forms part of the Commission's overall strategy Commission Communication on Honeybee Health COM(2010) 714 final to tackle the decline of Europe's bee population. Since the publication of the Commission's bee health strategy in 2010, several actions have been taken or are underway.

These include: the designation of an EU Reference Laboratory for bee health; increased EU co-financing for national apiculture programmes, co-financing to carry out surveillance studies in 17 voluntary Member States (€3.3 million were allocated in 2012) and EU research programmes such as BeeDoc and STEP which look into the multifactorial aspects that could be attributed to Europe's bee decline.

Pesticides have been identified as one of several factors which may be responsible for the decline in number of bees. Other factors also include parasites, other pathogens, lack of veterinary medicines or sometimes their misuse, apiculture management and environmental factors such as lack of habitat and feed and climate change.

The measures:

Restrict the crops where Fipronil can be used as a seed treatment;

Authorisations may be granted for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in greenhouses. However, this exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables (such as Brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli), where treated seeds can also be sown in the field, as the harvest of these crops takes place before flowering;

The treatment of maize and sunflower seeds will no longer be authorised.

Next Steps :

It is now for the Commission to adopt this measure in the coming weeks. Following this, the measure will be published in the EU Official Journal and the restriction will apply from 31 December 2013. Seeds which have been treated can be sown up until 28 February 2014. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.

For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/bees/index_en.htm


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

What do the latest growers' trials show on how to improve soil health?

What do the latest growers' trials show on how to improve soil health?

An Innovative Farmers conference in April heard how the network's programme of on-farm trials, or "Field Labs", involving around 1,000 farmers and growers is seeking usable practical findings that can be applied across farming.

Is leaving the EU an opportunity to harness the potential of agri-tech?

Is leaving the EU an opportunity to harness the potential of agri-tech?

A group of leading industry and research figures has agreed a series of agri-tech measures that will be recommended to Government as a means of making British farming more profitable and productive post-Brexit.

What do fruit and vegetable growers hope for from a renationalised farming policy?

What do fruit and vegetable growers hope for from a renationalised farming policy?

Defra's "Health & Harmony" consultation paper, which closed for responses this week, has given growers and their representative bodies a chance to shape the largest reformulation of farming and land-use policy in nearly half a century.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Horticulture Week Top UK FRUIT PRODUCERS

See our exclusive ranking of fruit producers by annual turnover. 

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon