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EU cracks down on pesticides to protect bees

From the EC new rules to lower the maximum levels of two neonicotinoids in food

The European Commission has adopted new rules which, once enforced, will lower the maximum residue levels of two pesticides in food. Evaluations by EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, have in fact demonstrated that two chemical substances belonging to the group of neonicotinoid pesticides, namely clothianidin and thiamethoxam, present a high risk for bees and contribute to the global decline of pollinators.

For this reason, their outdoor use was already banned in the EU in 2018. But precisely for this reason, the Commission underlines in an official statement, the new rules will lower the current MRLs, the maximum residue levels, for these substances to the level lowest that can be measured with the latest technologies. The new limits will apply to all products manufactured in the EU, but also to imported food and feed products.

The new regulation puts into practice the Commission's objectives, announced in the Green Deal and in the Farm to fork strategy, to take environmental aspects into account when assessing requests for import tolerance of pesticide substances no longer approved in the EU, in compliance with the and the obligations of the WTO, the World Trade Organization. The measures will apply to imported products starting from 2026: this, reports the EU note, "will give third countries time to comply with the new rules".

“The actions, which also affect imported foods, build on our 2018 decision to ban the outdoor use of these two neonicotinoids within the EU as, for the first time, maximum pesticide residue levels will be step down to tackle pollinator decline and protect our environment - explains Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety -. We remain steadfast in our commitment to the ambitions of the Farm to fork strategy to move towards sustainable food systems and protect pollinators".

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EFA News - European Food Agency