European Union governments have agreed to lower residue limits for two pesticides that harm bees, a move that will mainly affect agricultural producers looking to export food or animal feed to the EU.
The 27 EU members backed a European Commission proposal to lower maximum residue limits for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, two neonicotinoid pesticides that the European Food Safety Agency said pose a high risk to pollinators.
Outdoor use of the two pesticides, along with imidacloprid, was banned across the bloc in 2018, although many EU countries have granted “emergency” approval for their use on sugar beets. Manufacturers say residues disappear before harvest.
The new law aims to advance the EU’s goal of moving towards greener agriculture while meeting its commitments to the World Trade Organisation.
“The use of these two neonicotinoids has already been phased out in the EU. Today we are taking another step and contributing to the transition to sustainable food systems, including on a global scale,” said EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides in a statement.
The new rules, due to come into force in early 2023, will reduce maximum residues of these substances in imported food and feed to the lowest levels that can be measured with current technology.
Food business operators and third countries have up to three years to adapt to the new rules.
Environmental campaign group Generations Futures said in a report that studies in 2017 found residues in several imported products from Chinese tea to Thai eggplants, as well as French, Spanish and Portuguese fruits and vegetables.
The regulation will come into force unless the European Parliament, or the grouping of EU countries known as the Council, raises an objection within the next two months.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/tillage/eu-backs-lower-residue-limits-for-bee-harming-pesticides-42023121.html EU supports lower residue limits for pesticides harmful to bees