Scientists applaud EU pesticide regulation, but Member States and industry should stop using loopholes


In a new report, EASAC expresses concern about Member States and industry using loopholes in EU pesticide regulations to allow the continued use of banned insecticides. Prof. Michael Norton, EASAC’s Environment Director: “To claim that the threat to food security due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means we have to stick with conventional chemical-dependent agriculture is unjustified. There is plenty of evidence that proposed alternative methods can deliver the same or even better yields while maintaining nature’s ecosystem services.”

EASAC’s review of the latest science confirms that the EU got it right when it banned the main three neonicotinoids (neonics) five years ago. This class of insecticides has indiscriminate effects on pollinators and other beneficial insects as much as on the targeted pests, thereby posing a serious threat to biodiversity and longer-term food security.

But while commending the EU lead, the scientists caution against the persistence of loopholes that undermine the initial regulatory action. The first loophole is that using emergency authorisations to continue the use of banned neonics has become a habit for some countries. “As the European Court of Justice recently ruled, over-use of this practice should stop,” explains Norton.

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EASAC, 28-02-23