FRANKFURT May 27 The European Union's food
safety regulator has added a BASF insecticide to the
list of crop chemicals it suspects of playing a role in
declining bee populations.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said in a
statement on Monday that BASF's fipronil poses an "acute risk to
honeybees when used as a seed treatment for maize", citing dust
drift in particular.
BASF has until June 14 to file a comment on the report with
the European Commission, which will discuss a possible ban with
EU government officials in July.
The EU last month moved to ban three of the world's most
widely used pesticides for two years because of fears that they
are linked to a plunge in the population of bees critical to the
production of crops.
The ban affected pesticides known as neonicotinoids,
produced mainly by Germany's Bayer and Switzerland's
Syngenta, despite the EU's 27-member states failing to
reach an agreement on the matter.
BASF, which declined to provide fipronil sales figures, said
in its statement on Monday that EFSA's assessment does not
highlight any new risk to bee health from approved uses of
"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," it
BASF said that fipronil-based products have been on the
market since 1993 and are used in more than 70 countries.
Unlike neonicotinoids, fipronil is not widely used in
Europe, with only five countries using it for maize production.