A Commission proposal to restrict the use of Fipronil, an insecticide which has recently been identified as posing an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population, was backed by Member State experts meeting today in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health. This proposal follows a scientific risk assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that was published on 27 May 2013 which identified that seeds treated with pesticides containing Fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe’s honey bee population. Tonio Borg, Commissioner for Health said “A few weeks ago, in the aftermath of the restriction on use of neonicotinoids, I pledged to do my utmost to protect Europe’s honey bee population and today’s agreement with Member States, not only delivers on that pledge but marks another significant step in realising the Commission’s overall strategy to tackling Europe’s bee decline.” 23 Member States supported the restriction, 2 Member States voted against and 3 Member States abstained during today's standing committee vote.

The measures:

* Restricts the crops where Fipronil can be used as a seed treatment;

* Authorisations may be granted for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in greenhouses. However, this exception does not apply to leeks, shallots, onions and brassica vegetables (such as Brussel sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli), where treated seeds can also be sown in the field, as the harvest of these crops takes place before flowering;

* The treatment of maize and sunflower seeds will no longer be authorised.

 Next Steps :

It is now for the Commission to adopt this measure in the coming weeks. Following this, the measure will be published in the EU Official Journal and the restriction will apply from 31 December 2013. Seeds which have been treated can be sown up until 28 February 2014. National authorities are responsible for ensuring that the restrictions are correctly applied.


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