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European watchdog delays neonicotinoid review

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Staff Writer | January 11, 2017
EU public health watchdog The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has delayed publication of its updated assessment of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Pollinators neonicotinoid
Pollinators   Three neonicotinoids were subjected to partial bans
Three neonicotinoids were subjected to partial bans by the European Commission in 2013 due to links with health impacts on bees.

Though national governments in Europe have issued derogations allowing farmers to use the chemicals in spite of the strict restrictions and manufacturers have claimed their products are not harming non-target insects, there has been a large body of evidence published since 2013 linking neonics with adverse effects on insects, birds and aquatic life.

The EU Commission is set to re-evaluate its restrictions this year, and at the Oxford Real Farming Conference last week, 18 wildlife and conservation groups called on the UK government to extend bans on neonicotinoids to cover wheat crops.

EFSA’s assessment, which will inform the Commission’s decision, was due for publication this month, but has been delayed. The updated assessments are intended to take into account new findings from recent studies.

EFSA said the assessment’s publication had been pushed back to allow regulators adequate time to consider the large amount of research submitted in response to a call for data issued in 2015.