BASF critical of EU restriction on fipronil over honeybee health fears

16 July 2013 16:54  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--German chemicals major BASF on Tuesday criticised a decision by EU member states to restrict the use of insecticide fipronil in a bid to curb losses to Europe’s honeybee population.

The new bill, which received backing from EU member states on 16 July, would ban the use of fipronil to treat maize and sunflower seeds. The blacklisting comes into effect on 31 December 2013, although treated seeds can still be planted until 28 February 2014.

BASF acquired the rights to the active ingredient in fipronil from Bayer CropScience in 2003. The company claims that a ban on fipronil will restrict growers’ access to pesticides, and that it will not have any effect on efforts to protect bees.

“The company remains convinced that the decline in bee populations is caused by multiple and complex factors and that the restriction of fipronil will not contribute to protecting bees,” it said in a statement.

The fipronol blacklist, which is still awaiting formal adoption by the commission, is the latest measure taken by European policymakers to safeguard honeybee populations.

Restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam are also set to come into effect in December. Final approval of the fipronil ruling is expected in the next few weeks.

The use of fipronil may still be authorised in the EU for the treatment of seeds sown in greenhouses, but the exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables, where treated seeds can also be sown in fields, the commission added.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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