On April 27, 2018, the EU Commission adopted by a majority of votes a Regulation to restrict the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) to permanent greenhouses only.
This restriction follows the EU Regulation 485/2013 to ban certain uses of these 3 neonicotinoids. Since 2013, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has relied on its Bee Risk Assessment Guidance Document to evaluate pesticide risks to bees in the EU. After nearly 5 years since its publication, this regulatory document is still not yet legally adopted because a qualified majority of European Member States continues to oppose its overly conservative and impractical requirements.
The new restriction on all outdoor uses is yet again based on the same flaws and does not withstand scientific scrutiny. Relying on the unworkable EFSA Bee Risk Assessment Document, the EFSA has inevitably identified significant data gaps leading them to assume potential high risks with regard to outdoor uses of clothianidin. The EFSA has also disregarded a large number of sound scientific studies submitted by Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical Agro Europe, suggesting the studies are not exhaustive or reliable enough to draw conclusions on low level effects of clothianidin uses. As an applicant, Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical Agro Europe were not given the opportunity to comment on this evaluation. Concerns raised could have been easily addressed by existing available information.
Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical Agro Europe are against the new restrictions which it considers inappropriate and disproportionate in light of the scientific data available, and which will prevent farmers from using a very effective and safe tool to safeguard efficient agricultural practices and food supply in Europe. The use of Clothianidin has been proved to be safe for humans and the environment when the products are used responsibly and according to labeling instructions, and this new restriction of all outdoor uses of Clothianidin will not contribute to improve bee health.
Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical Agro Europe are fully committed to working with the EU authorities and other authorities around the world to provide sound scientific data and to take the necessary measures to further demonstrate the safety of its products.