UK Government bee study flawed
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has identified “several weaknesses” in a field study published by the UK Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) which suggested neonicotinoid pesticides have no adverse effects on bumble bee colonies.
The study, Effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments on bumble bee colonies under field conditions was subjected to some damning analysis from EFSA. It says:
EFSA’s assessments looked at the authorised use of a number of plant protection products containing thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid across the European Union. The FERA study examined just one crop – oilseed rape – and two plant protection products – one containing clothianidin and the other imidacloprid – which is authorised for use in the UK.
- The test sites used by FERA “reflect a small sample of agricultural conditions in the UK and cannot be considered representative of conditions in other parts of the EU.”
- Dust and guttation – two important routes of exposure were not addressed by the FERA study
Other deficiencies highlighted by EFSA experts include inconsistencies and contradictory statements in the study’s objectives, absence of suitable control bee colonies and environmental variation across the three test sites.
The field analysis was used as a delay tactic by Government in the run up to a landmark vote on the neonicotinoid ban. Environment secretary had said: “I have asked the European Commission to consider all the evidence and to wait for the results of our field trials, rather than rushing to a decision based on lab tests alone.”
The link to the FERA study is now unavailable.