Biotech Updates

Pesticides and Bee Health: EFSA Reviews the Science

June 1, 2012

Bees play a valuable role as crop pollinators, contribute to biodiversity and provide hive products such as honey and royal jelly. With the current lowering of bee population, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published a state-of –the-art scientific review of the risks posed by pesticides to honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees. The scientific experts looked in detail at four key areas, as suggested by the European Commission:
  • the acute and chronic effects of pesticides on bees, particularly colony survival and development
  • how to estimate the long-term effects of exposure to low concentrations
  • the need to take into account the cumulative and combined effects of different pesticides
  • existing test protocols and possible new protocols that take into account the exposure of bees to pesticides through nectar and pollen.

A dedicated and coordinated work programme related to bees in the areas of pesticides, animal and plant health, and genetically modified organisms are currently being developed by EFSA's scientific experts. The Authority is also carrying out a gap analysis for risk assessment and data collection and will identify areas for further research.

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