Neonicotinoid seed treatment technology in Europe

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has published its review of neonicotinoid seed treatments, including thiamethoxam.

We believe that EFSA found itself under political pressure to produce a hurried and inadequate risk assessment, which even they acknowledge contains a high level of uncertainty.  Their report, compiled in under six months, has not taken account of the comprehensive scientific studies that preceded the launch of neonicotinoids, and many years of extensive monitoring in the field which proves the safety of this vital technology. 

A recent study showed that without neonicotinoid seed treatment, crop yields would fall by up to 40% and cost the EU economy around €17bn over 5 years. This would threaten 50,000 jobs and reduce the income of nearly 1m people. In addition, the loss of crop productivity here would be made up by farming an additional 3m hectares of land outside of Europe at a cost of 600m tons of CO2 emissions.

Seed treated with thiamethoxam has been used across millions of hectares of European crops for over ten years. When used properly the technology does not damage bee populations and this is why many EU countries have continued to support its use.

A thriving bee population is vital for sustainable agriculture but so too are innovative crop treatments.

Operation PollinatorOperation Pollinator shows it’s possible to have both. We’ve been helping farmers to sow pollen-rich habitats alongside intensively farmed crops for over ten years, resulting in dramatic increases in pollinating insects.

We need to ensure that a safe crop protection technology is not lost without scientific justification or the farmer’s voice being heard.

If you want to protect bees and crop yields, make sure you tell your local Member of Parliament or Minister of Agriculture.