BASF responds to EFSA’s assessment on risk to bees
- EFSA report does not identify any new risks from fipronil seed treatments
- Potential restrictions of fipronil uses in agriculture would limit growers’ access to valuable technologies
Limburgerhof, Germany – May, 27 2013 – BASF today commented on the assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on fipronil and bees. According to BASF, the assessment does not highlight any new risk to bee health from approved uses of the insecticide fipronil. Any potential measures, based on this assessment, to restrict the use of fipronil in EU countries would not take into account the multiple complex factors related to bee health. Therefore, such restrictions would not contribute to protecting bees. BASF and other experts remain convinced that the currently observed decline in bee populations results from other causes than use of seed treatment products containing fipronil.
“Bees play an important role in agriculture, as they are major pollinators for plants and crops. Our business is very dependent on bees; therefore, it is in our best interest to understand the real causes of the decline in bee health and act upon them”, said Jürgen Oldeweme, Senior Vice President Global Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs for BASF’s Crop Protection division. “Nonetheless, the problem of declining bee health must be addressed via a holistic approach and not by singling out certain technologies that have a solid record of safe use, such as fipronil.”
BASF also points out that EFSA’s latest risk assessment regarding fipronil focusses heavily on new technical areas for which no established evaluation criteria are yet available. No cases of bee mortality have been attributed to the application of fipronil seed treatment products, when used according to approved label instructions. “By restricting the use of fipronil-based products, European authorities will not accomplish their goal of preserving bee health. Instead, it will add one more restriction and limitation to growers and the overall food production in Europe,” added Oldeweme.
As part of its commitment to sustainable agriculture, BASF has been actively supporting research projects that investigate problems related to bee health. “We are open to discuss with EFSA and the European Commission which additional studies and measures can be performed to further ensure protection of bees. We support any reasonable data gathering that can lead us in this direction,” concluded Oldeweme. BASF has also taken a proactive step by introducing innovative application technologies for fipronil-based products. In addition, the company is actively cooperating with the Canadian company NOD to introduce Mite Away® Quick Strips (MAQS) in the European market, an effective product to control the Varroa destructor mite in beehives.
Fipronil-based products have been on the market since 1993. Farmers use them in more than 70 countries and in more than 100 different crops to secure their harvests. Beyond agriculture, fipronil is used, for example, for urban pest and termite control. It is thus also an important tool for public health initiatives.
For more information from the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), please consult: http://www.ecpa.eu/news-item/agriculture-today/05-27-2013/728/pesticide-subject-data-deficient-review
About BASF’s Crop Protection division
With sales of around €4.7 billion in 2012, BASF’s Crop Protection division provides innovative solutions in crop protection, turf and ornamental plants, pest control and public health. Its portfolio also includes technologies for seed treatment and biological control as well as solutions to manage water, nutrients and plant stress. BASF’s Crop Protection division is a leading innovator that supports growers to optimize agricultural production, improve their business efficiency and enhance the quality of life for a growing world population. Further information can be found on the web at www.agro.basf.com or follow us on our social media channels.
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of €72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.