Costco takes stand on insecticides

Costco is saying no to neonics.

The grocery store chain, with more than 600 stores in the United States and Canada, said in May that it wants producers of fruits, vegetables and garden plants to stop using neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides commonly known as neonics.

“Suppliers are encouraged to phase out the use of neonicotinoids and chlorpyrifos (an insecticide),” Costco said on its website.

“We seek to partner with suppliers who share our commitment to pollinator health and IPM (integrated pest management).”

Costco is asking suppliers to “phase out” neonics because the insecticides are linked to bee deaths and bee colony losses. A number of scientists claim the insecticides are toxic to bees, while other research suggests that certain uses of neonics are acceptable.

The European Union has banned agricultural uses of neonicotinoids, including seed coatings, because lawmakers across Europe are convinced that neonics are harmful to bees.

In May, Health Canada released its assessment of imidacloprid, a Bayer neonicotinoid, and the associated risks to bees. It concluded that using the insecticide on berries, orchard fruit and some vegetable crops does pose a threat to pollinators.

“Certain uses of products containing imidacloprid result in uptake by plants where it then moves into nectar and/or pollen,” said Scott Kirby, director general of environmental assessment with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

“Because bees use nectar and pollen as their primary sources of food, bees may be exposed to harmful levels of this insecticide when they visit certain flowers.”

Imidacloprid is commonly used in Canada’s horticulture industry on crops such as apples, berries, sweet corn, field tomatoes and beans.

The Health Canada decision on imidacloprid and pollinators isn’t final because the PMRA is consulting with Canadians on the policy.

However, the Costco announcement means Canadian fruit and vegetable growers who wish to sell to Costco will need to adjust their practices.

“We are also committed to business practices that support the growth and sustainability of our business, as well as the growth and sustainability of bees and other pollinators,” the company said in its pollinator policy.

Kroger, which operates nearly 2,800 grocery stores in the U.S., has also taken a position on neonics.

In late June it released a new policy to phase out neonicotinoids on live garden plants in its stores and garden centres by 2020, reported Friends of the Earth, a global environmental group with approximately two million members and supporters.

The corporate stances on neonics come at a time when Health Canada has proposed a ban on imidacloprid and will soon release an assessment on two other neonicotinoids: thiamethoxam and clothianidin.

The two insecticides are applied as a seed treatment to nearly all of the canola and corn seed in Canada and a portion of all soybean seeds. For the last 18 months Health Canada has been studying thiamethoxam and clothianidin to assess the potential risk to aquatic insects.

The PMRA is reviewing thiamethoxam and clothianidin because in November of 2016 Health Canada concluded imidacloprid is a threat to aquatic insects and recommended that all agricultural uses should be banned.

The PMRA determined that levels of imidacloprid in water bodies near agricultural land are unacceptably high, putting aquatic insects at risk and threatening animals that depend on those insects for food. The type of aquatic insects at risk include mayflies and midges.

Water samples determined that most of the unacceptably high levels were happening in creeks and ponds in southern Ontario in areas with intense fruit and vegetable production or a large number of greenhouses.

Health Canada is expected to release its proposed decision on thiamethoxam, clothianidin and the risk to aquatic insects this summer.

It will make a final decision on imidacloprid and the proposed ban in December.

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Comments

  • ed

    It is great that someone is standing up for the survival of mankind by listening to the majority of people who are now voting with their wallets and attempting to salvage our pollinators. That kind of power trumps the chem. corps. that just keep saying, “we just don’t know yet” and “the jury is still out on this one” at the podium, as they fill, empty and refill their warehouses as fast as they can with huge profit generating products labeled with the skull and crossbones on every box. Congratulations Costco! Hope you are geared up for the lawsuit that these chem. corps will be bring at you with honest farmers hard earned and ill begotten moneys backing them all the way.

  • bufford54

    Feeding the world is a difficult task. Trying to do it with one arm tied behind your back makes it even more so. They say finding a worm in your apple is bad, but finding half a worm in your apple is worse. Hope all you Costco shoppers like worms.

    • S.G.

      Worms are not toxic

      • Pat_Creighton

        Neither are genetically engineered products. Costco is just following the latest popular fad and don’t have a clue why they are doing it, clearly.

        • S.G.

          Nonsense!

    • Sheryl McCumsey

      I eat plenty of food produced without these pesticides. The chemical corporations are not teaching anything that feeds anyone other than their own back pocket-farmers should be wary of them!

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        No, farmers should be grateful that these companies produce such quality products.

        • Sheryl McCumsey

          NO- farmers are being ripped off-200 peer reviewed studies do not show an increase in yield and destroying insect life puts us all at serious risk: https://www.darrinqualman.com/canadian-net-farm-income/

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            2000 studies ? Baloney, The NAS says there is a yield increase. I have seen the garbage studies you use before. Post a few. If those stats were a real issue. Canadian farmers would simply quit farming any high overhead crops. BTW, I didn’t see de[recitation listed separately.

          • Goldfinger

            Please cite the document where you claim the NAS says there is a yield increase. I don’t think your claim is correct.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            and besides that. the money was not taken. It was paid voluntarily. thus showing at least the headline writer has a bias.

    • ed

      If enough people die of poisons, the job should get easier.

  • Monkeeworks

    Then again, bee hive colonies world wide are at an all time high. Check Canadian registered bee hive colonies government info pages. They give the world stats there too. Maybe people need to vote with their knowledge on the subject first and if they have none then get some and then vote.

    • Diana Daunheimer

      Colony numbers are at an all time high, because bee deaths, colony losses and winter mortality are also very high, therefore, keepers need more hives to produce the expected volumes of honey and hive products. High colony numbers are not an indicator of bee health, quite the opposite.

  • Happy Farmer

    Is Costco making a decision based upon factual science, or a vocal minority?? Or perhaps it is only a financial decision??
    Costco has approximately 75 million members worldwide. IF, (and that’s a big stretch), all members voted against Neonics, that would only be 1% of the worlds population.
    It’s getting ridiculous how minority numbers control the majority!

    • Diana Daunheimer

      By all means, review the dozens of Material Safety Data Sheets for Imidacloprid and other neonics and the answer to your questions should be obvious, factual science, presented by the chemical companies themselves, as an example:

      “12. ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION

      ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: This product is highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Do not apply directly to water, to areas where surface water is present or to intertidal areas below the mean high water mark.

      Do not contaminate water when disposing of equipment washwaters.

      This product is highly toxic to bees exposed to direct treatment or residues on blooming crops or weeds. Do not apply this product or allow it to drift to blooming crops or weeds if bees are visiting the treatment area.

      This chemical demonstrates the properties and characteristics associated with chemicals detected in groundwater. The use of this chemical in areas where soils are permeable, particularly where the water table is shallow, may result in groundwater contamination.

      Apply this product only as specified on this label. Extreme care must be taken to avoid runoff. Apply only to soil or other fill substrate that will accept the solution at the specified rate. Do not treat soil that is water saturated or frozen or in any conditions where run-off or movement from the treatment area (site) is likely to occur.”

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        and if those instructions are followed. ?The product is safe to use. BTW, a high percentage of neonic use is underground.

        • Diana Daunheimer

          No, even if the product is used as directed, it is still toxic to aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. I know of no farmer that can prevent the run off from his field into local waterways or groundwater, you?

          As well, by “underground” do you mean that the seed is treated and planted? How true, but you are referencing a systemic insecticide, that when the treated seed grows above ground, all parts of the plant, stem, leaves, flower, pollen, nectar are imbued with the neonic used.
          To further, the soils are also contaminated and can be for up to a decade, so when crops are tilled or harvested, contaminated soils can be disrupted and travel considerable distance from the treated fields, including into waterways.

          Were the farmers in Iowa using the product as directed?
          Then how did it end up in their drinking water?

          https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2017/acs-presspac-april-19-2017/neonicotinoids-detected-in-drinking-water-in-agricultural-area.html

          When Canada starts testing for neonics in our drinking water, what will they find?

          https://ca.water.usgs.gov/pubs/2014/HladikKolpinKuivila2014.pdf

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            It has to get to the aquatics in biologically significant concentrations to cause any trouble. Your article doesn’t show that.Plus your second article claims 57 nangrams per liter, maximum count for all neonics. 57 seems like a big number. So, I went to a conversion chart and found out that is equivalent to 0.57 parts per billion. The low was 1 nanagram per kilo. Which is .001 PPB. The only things that article shows that are meaningful is that they used terms designed to mislead lay people and that stuff can be detected at extremely trivial concentrations. https://entomologytoday.org/2014/02/06/neonicotinoids-barely-found-in-pollen-of-seed-treated-plants/

          • Diana Daunheimer

            “Drinking water samples from this treatment plant contained between 0.24 and 57.3 nanograms of individual neonicotinoids per liter.”

            Three different individual neonics detected.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Read my response. I already pointed out those numbers and why using them is stupid.

          • Diana Daunheimer

            Ng/l and mg/l are standard quantitative measurements for solutions and are easily converted to ppm or ppb. How is it possible these measurements are stupid? Because they blow your opinion out of the water?

            44,000 ng/l, equates to .044 ppm, which is very close to the .055mg/l limit for acute toxicity to aquatic invertebrates.

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            When I looked at the numbers for your first citation and realized the PPB were ridiculously low. I never bothered to look at the second one. I clearly referred to the conversion of the claims in the first citation. I am going out to get ready for market and use some neonics. Will refute the rest later/

          • Diana Daunheimer

            “There are limited published data on neonicotinoid concentrations
            in surface waters. Studies have been done in both wetlands
            and streams. Samples collected from wetlands near areas of intense
            cultivation contained multiple neonicotinoids. In the Prairie
            Pothole Region of Canada, four neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, clothianidin,imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) were detected, with at
            least one in over half the samples at concentrations up to 3100 ng/L
            for clothianidin, although mean concentrations were lower,
            1000 ng/L in 19% of the samples.”

            Clearly, there is more to the data than you reviewed, with certain sample areas reaching significant concentrations that “would cause trouble.”

          • Peter Olins

            Hi Diana, imadacloprid is lethal to the aquatic invertebrate, Daphnia, at around 100 ppm.
            http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/archive/imidacloprid.html#endo

            Your references show aquatic levels at the order of a million-fold lower than this. What is your concern?

          • Diana Daunheimer

            From MSDS:

            “Acute Toxicity to Aquatic Invertebrates

            Water flea (Daphnia magna)
            EC50: 85 mg/l

            Exposure time: 48 h

            The value mentioned relates to the active ingredient imidacloprid.

            Chironomus riparius (non-biting midge)
            LC50: 0.0552 mg/l
            Exposure time: 24 h

            The value mentioned relates to the active ingredient imidacloprid.”

          • Peter Olins

            Yes, 85 ppm approximately 100 ppm. Why are you concerned about exposures approximately a million fold lower than the lethal level?

          • Diana Daunheimer

            It’s the exposure level for midges that is the concern.

    • ed

      Probably because they ultimately deal with the end use customer that cares about their health and their environment it is just Costco being gently steered in the direction of taking the best moral high road that they can take as much as anything. Cool Eh!

  • richard

    If a deeply conflicted regulatory system is incapable of taking a stand on ritual abuse of agritoxins,,, ie neonics, antibiotics, hormones and glyphosate, the retail sector will. The notion that every seed and every critter requires the chronic care of agribiz is just bizarre….. and can only lead to the even greater public antipathy towards “ideological science”

  • razorjack

    It is a wonderful thing when retail business listens to their customer and make changes to their purchasing polices. Costco is only the first, because people want to keep the natural world.

  • Sheryl McCumsey

    They pose a threat to all insects and even birds. They pose a threat to our health and to our agricultural system. Chemical corporations have way too much power and people are waking up to that reality.

  • Eric Bjerregaard
    • Diana Daunheimer

      Too funny, the American Council on Science and Health, those colluded morons that promote GMOs, fracking, Nuclear Energy, irradiated foods, beneficial low dose radiation, alcohol and tobacco use, vaccines and all big pharma concoctions, while trying to soothe the “chemophobia” of the general populist, is your go-to for factual, scientific and non-partisan information?

      As per the Lancaster Farming link, yes, varroa mites are problematic in honey bee populations, and it’s a parasite that is endemic to the profession and hive all over the world. Under normal conditions and proper management techniques, colonies can withstand mites, however, coupled with the stressors of pesticide/insecticide use, poor forage and other environmental stressors, mites take the advantage and weaken colonies.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        They don’t promote any of that stuff. they tell the truth as regards those things. Something you should aspire to. GE crops, for example are as safe as any. I did notice that you not only failed to refute anything in the article. You failed to even make an attempt. Pathetic. s to bees, you have it backwards. The mites and the viruses they spread do the main damage. According to new research. the damage they do may make bees more susceptible to pesticides. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/bee-decline-phd-student-wins-three-minute-thesis-prize

        • Diana Daunheimer

          Yeah they do, from their Form 990:

          “2) PROMOTED ITS SCIENTIFIC CONCLUSIONS ON IMPORTANT, CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES SUCH AS FOOD SAFETY, GMOS, TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION, CONCUSSIONS, OBESITY, VACCINATIONS AND IMMUNIZATIONS, PHARMACEUTICAL
          RESEARCH AND DRUG DEVELOPMENTS, DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS, HEALTH SCARES AND “CHEMOPHOBIA” (THE UNNATURAL FEAR OF CHEMICALS) AND FRACKING.”

          The ACSH is pathetic.

          Which came first, the varroa mite or the neonics?
          You will never get rid of varroa mites, but you can eliminate neonics.

          • richard

            Those who practice war on nature as a lifestyle become oblivious to the fact that they hammering to death the natural resilience of their ecosystem such that the system becomes dependent on increasing levels of agritoxicity to sustain itself….. The IPM Costco alludes to as a goal, is a million miles away from the DPM (disintegrative pest management) industrial agriculture is addicted to….. ergo the denial, anger, projection and so forth……

          • Eric Bjerregaard

            Which came first is not relevant. “Never?” … You have still failed to refute anything I have posted.

          • Diana Daunheimer

            Oh my word … Material Safety Data Sheets of neonics, which are researched and published by the chemical companies which produce the insecticides, are the only proof anyone needs.

            Bayer et al. are clear, their products are “highly toxic” to bees.
            Can you invalidate company MSDS’s? Or is your belief about the matter the scientific truth? If so, you have a case of cognitive dissonance. You can’t tout science, while ignoring it.

            Concept: “Extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms. Highly toxic to bees. ”

            https://www.cropscience.bay

            Premise: “This product is highly toxic to bees…..” as well, “Caution! Hazard to human and domestic animals.”

            https://www.ipmpost.net/inc

            Intercept: “Highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates. Highly toxic to bees.”

            https://bayeres.ca/files/ba

            QuickBayt: “May cause organ damage from repeated oral exposure.
            Very toxic to aquatic life. Toxic to the soil environment. Toxic to terrestrial vertebrates. Very toxic to terrestrial invertebrates.”

            https://www.flybusters.co.n

            12 Month Tree & Shrub: “..highly toxic to bees.”

            https://www.bioadvanced.com

          • Damo

            You obviously have no idea what you are talking about, since it said it promoted scientific conclusions.

          • Diana Daunheimer

            Right, and a student in a Grade 2 science fair, can promote their scientific conclusions too.

          • Damo

            Well, sure. But ASCH isn’ promoting science fair science, they are promoting actual science. …

          • S.G.

            As most of us that are aware, there is bias and major conflicts of interests when it comes to “science” vs “pseudoscience”. The ASCH do not promote actual science.

      • morphd

        Ms Daunheimer, I’ve read about your fight against apparently illegal practices in fracking and applaud you for your effort in that area but I’m curious as to why you’ve taken up the fight against neonicotinoids.

        First of all, it should be fairly obvious from the second article linked to by Eric that there have been negative consequences of the European ban http://european-seed.com/2017/12/impact-ban-neonicotinoids/ – yield & quality losses, shifting production to other areas with accompanying environmental consequences and shifting to less effective insecticides with accompanying increases in greenhouse gas emissions and increased risk of pests developing resistance to the fewer tools available to farmers. There’s also the case of sugar beets, where pollinator interaction isn’t even an issue.

        And it’s only fair that the suppliers of the products be able to make their case:

        Our position at Bayer is quite clear. Neonicotinoids are safe when used responsibly and in accordance with label instructions. In 20 years
        of intensive and critical research on neonicotinoids there hasn’t been a single study that was able to show a negative impact on honey bee colony health when neonicotinoid seed treatment products were tested under realistic field conditions and practical application scenarios.
        What’s more, the EU’s neonicotinoid restrictions have not led to any measurable improvement in bee health – but have cost European farmers a fortune…

        And even though another source suggests some harm to bees, when provided with alternate sources of pollen, such harm is minimized https://www.nationalobserver.com/2017/06/30/news/canadian-european-studies-link-key-pesticide-weakened-honeybee-hives (emphasis added)

        The bee hives in the Hungarian and British fields that used pesticide−treated seeds did worse surviving through the next winter, the researchers found. In Hungary, the honeybee colonies near treated fields had 24 per cent fewer worker bees the next spring when compared to those near untreated crops.

        But in Germany, the bees didn’t seem harmed. Hives there were generally healthier to start and when scientists analyzed the pollen brought back to the hives, they determined that the German bees ate a far broader diet with much less of their nutrition coming from the pesticide−treated rapeseed plants, said study director Richard Pywell. Only about 10 per cent of the German bee diet was from neonicotinoid−treated plants, compared to more than 50 per cent in Hungary and England, he said.

        When hives are weakened by disease, parasites or bad diet — as many hives are worldwide — then the neonicotinoids “pushes them over the edge,” said Pywell, a scientist at the Center for Ecology and Hydrology in England. So many of the British hives died, in both treated and untreated fields, that scientists couldn’t calculate the specific effect of the insecticide, he said.

        It’s fairly clear that neonicotinoids are valuable tools for farmers and there could very well be ‘workarounds’ like requiring border non-treated pollen sources that could further reduce any negative impact on pollinators. This seems nothing like the extreme situation your family faced with the fracking adjacent to your property so I’m curious as to what drives your involvement.

        Disclosure: I grew up on a farm (California) but went to grad school in my mid 30’s (molecular biology) and ended up working for one of the big Ag companies until taking early retirement over two years ago. My brother who stayed on the farm has some of his acres in organic so I have some exposure to (and empathy for) both sides of the conventional vs. organic divide.

        • Diana Daunheimer

          When you experience harm, you should advocate for change.

          Our apiary is now silent, because with the prevalence of treated canola, the hives do not survive. The pollen is toxic and the nectar crystallizes in the comb. In the spring you have hives full of pollen, honey, dead bees and rotted brood.

          The article Eric linked regarding EU losses, etc, was sanctioned by Bayer and Syngenta. The only thing obvious about the conclusions, is that this type of paid for propaganda, is not acceptable, or accurate.

          If neonics were being used in accordance with the label instructions, there should be no cases of detectable levels in any water course or groundwater. But that is not the case is it?

          Currently, there only exists a partial ban on certain neonics in the EU. The full ban was only voted in late April, 2018 and will not be in effect until the end of this year, or later. It would be ludicrous to expect a measurable, or even noticeable recovery of bee health, when neonic products are still being used, as well as persisting in the environment, from previous use. Perhaps, 10 years into a full ban, there will be measurable increases in bee health, but who is to say, since it’s anyones guess what noxious and horrific poison will be pimped out next by Big Ag.

          It’s clear from your copy and paste, when bees forage on treated canola, they are impacted. In Germany, they have altered their agricultural practices to mandate shelter belts and natural areas, and that provides unpolluted forage for the bees. It appears the bees know better than people, what is best for them.

          However, we don’t farm that way in Western Canada. Rights of ways are mulched to the roots to save costs for utility and energy companies. Parks, green-spaces, lawns, gardens and ditches are sprayed repeatedly and people are more keen to destroy shelter belts than increase them. Mono-cropping has replaced diversity and natural forage opportunities for all pollinators is at an all time low, therefore, they are forced into treated crops, which eventually becomes a death sentence.

          Fracking and conventional agriculture are alike in that they are unsustainable practices, which cause adverse environmental and public health impacts. My involvement is driven by first hand experience and concern for the long term viability of our essential ecological systems.

          As a footnote, thanks for your support regarding fracking. The violations by the company that fracked wells around our home, were not “alleged”, but validated and documented by the Alberta Energy Regulator, along with significant evidence filed with the Court of Queens Bench. What is available on the internet regarding our case is not the full account, since we were unable at the time, to publicly disclose records from the defendants. In 2016, we filed an Amended Statement of Claim, with 52 filed exhibits, which chronicled all operations, violations and impacts. The case was settled late last year.

        • richard

          “Neonicotinoids are safe when used responsibly and in accordance with label instructions” …..So coating every single GM corn, soybean and canola seed with neonics is responsible? When the risk of target infestation is ten to twenty percent? Are you serious? Just because agribiz dogma tries to normalize prophylactic chronic treatment of every living cell it sticks its face into, does not constitute “responsible use”……Its abuse where I come from and apparently Costco agrees…. I guess when your trapped in reductionist illogic, the spectre of DDT, lindane, paraquat, malathion, dioxins, PCBs, chloroflourocarbons, flame retardants, glyphosate as a dessicant, ritual antibiotic abuse…..are completely lost on you…..That’s right, all of them at one time were defended with the same giddy label nonsense…. and all of them are finished just like neonics are about to be….. theyre systemic, theyre neurotoxins, theyre abused….. and theyre done ok?

    • Bob A MacMillan

      I guess that is why all of Europe has banned them…because they are so safe? Amazingly, they still have enough food to eat.

      • Eric Bjerregaard

        No, only 3 were banned and it was because of politics and whining by NGOs. Here is the effect of that foolish move. http://www.ecpa.eu/news/new-study-shows-neonicotinoid-ban-has-cost-european-oilseed-rape-farming-industry-€900-million and http://european-seed.com/2017/12/impact-ban-neonicotinoids/

        • Diana Daunheimer

          Good grief, the HFFA study was commissioned by Bayer and Syngenta.
          Paid for science for predetermined outcomes to legitimize legal actions for the Bayer, Syngenta and BASF.

          The trivial and supposed yield losses and harvest quality claimed in the report will pale in comparison to the decline in yield and quality when the soil biome is destroyed, waterways contaminated and pollinators absent from the environment.

          • Hi Diana,

            I was taught in journalism to “follow the money,” and I believe that is still a useful rule of thumb.

            Having said that, when it comes to research, I believe (and I certainly stand to be corrected…) that the peer review process is by far the more salient determination of whether research is “good’ or “bad” – assuming you’re able to make such a black/white distinction.

            Scientists, like journalists, rely heavily upon their reputation. While there are “bad apples” in every profession, I don’t believe any competent, self-respecting scientist would risk harming their (presumably) hard-earned reputation by publishing shoddy science to be peer reviewed.

            I presume even one study that is poorly-received during the peer-review stage of publication would reflect negatively upon that scientist. More would be worse.

            It should be obvious to any scientifically literate observer if methods, data, research procedures or conclusions are being twisted to meet expectations.

            Hence, the importance/value placed upon the peer review process, rather than who is picking up the tab for the research.

            Just my 2¢ worth…

            Cheers,
            Paul – WP web editor

          • Diana Daunheimer

            Hi Paul,

            Thanks for your contribution, however, where did you ascertain that the HFFA report was peer reviewed?

            HFFA is a consultancy firm, to which most of their clients are chemical and fertilizer companies-listed below, as per your rule of thumb and that of any decent journalist, follow the money:

            “BASF SE

            Bayer CropScience AG

            Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB)

            (Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag)

            Chemie Wirtschaftsförderungs-GmbH (CWFG)

            CropLife International A.I.S.B.L.

            Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Bereich International Services

            Deutsche Wildtier Stiftung

            Deutscher Bauernverband e.V. (DBV)

            European Seed Association (ESA)

            European Technology Platform (ETP) ‚Plants for the Future‘

            Familienbetriebe Land und Forst e.V.

            Fertilizer Europe

            Forum Moderne Landwirtschaft e.V.

            Geflügelwirtschaftsverband Brandenburg e.V.

            GFA Consulting Group GmbH

            Hessischer Bauernverband e.V.

            IDEG Informationsgemeinschaft Deutsches Geflügel GmbH

            Industrieverband Agrar e.V. (IVA)

            International Seed Federation (ISF)

            International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

            Nufarm Europe GmbH

            Phytofar ASBL

            Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung e.V. (PIK)

            Rheinische Landwirtschafts-Verband e.V. (RLV)

            Syngenta Crop Protection N.V.

            Zentralverband der Deutschen Geflügelwirtschaft e.V. (German Poultry Association)”

            As well, the author of the report is also the sole shareholder of HFFA.

            “Dr. Steffen Noleppa is the shareholder of HFFA Research GmbH.”

            http://hffa-research.com/about-us/

            In this case, whose picking up the tab and who profits from that tab, is very relevant to the conclusions of the report, particularly when I can see no evidence that the report was peer reviewed. Perhaps you can direct me to that disclosure.

            Thanks,

            Diana

          • Hi Diana,

            I was responding to your first point about a study being “commissioned” (I am equating this with “paid for”…) by Bayer and Syngenta.

            Cheers,
            Paul – WP web editor

          • morphd

            Just to add to what you said Paul, a cornerstone of scientific experimentation is reproducibility. Regardless of who funds the research, the results should be reproducible by following the methodology provided in the scientific publication. Furthermore, if a company is funding (or conducting in-house) research for regulatory agencies there are likely to be severe consequences for submitting fraudulent data.

            One would think that if the companies were conducting fraudulent experiments – as activists seem to want us to believe – then conducting independent, scientifically rigorous experiments to expose such fraud would be a straightforward way for activist organizations to undermine the companies’ reputations in the eyes of regulators and the public. However, that never seems to happen, at least that I’m aware of in my experience (on the GMO side). Research conducted for and by activist organizations rarely stands up to rigorous scientific scrutiny and is typically published in journals with questionable reputations.

            Rather than conducting rigorous experiments to convince scientists, what activists seem to be after is any ‘evidence’ that they can use to sway a scientifically-illiterate public. A number of those organizations take in millions of dollars in donations and pay multiple six figure salaries*. This isn’t to dismiss all their advocacy but to point out that many have a financial incentive to keep people believing ‘the sky is falling’.

            Just to be clear, I’m not trying to give the large corporations a free pass and am not at all happy with the latest round of mergers (because I believe less competition will result in higher prices for farmers). While I personally don’t purchase and consume much organic food, I do think that industry developing alternate methods for crop production by organic farmers (some of which may be adopted by conventional farmers) is a good thing.

            *For example, see IRS form 990 for Food and Water Watch http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/320/320160439/320160439_201612_990.pdf Contributions and grants (page 1 line 8) were over 17 million in 2016 and at least seven people were paid 150k or more that year (page 7).

          • richard

            Really good point…. follow the money…. But follow it to the end. Its not the peer reviewed analysis of reductionist science and its simplistic answers to complex problems…..because that’s not the end of the money trail …… Its the peer reviewed analysis of a multibillion dollar retail juggernaut that declares that its peers are fed up with agritoxins in their food…… Farmers do what theyre told…. consumers do what they want…..and what they want is food with zero residues of any corporate hubris…..

  • Pat_Creighton

    Costco is not being realistic. They are selling as many “non-GMO” items as they can find, and now are going to ban a pesticide that is used by organic farmers? If we followed every fad like that we would look pretty ignorant.

  • Goldfinger

    I knew that you couldn’t produce it because the NAS did not make that claim. Your proof doesn’t exist

  • Diana Daunheimer

    But neonics are not being used as per instructions, otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing contamination in waterways and groundwater, or in hive products.

    Oral exposure, children/pets, inadvertently eating treated plants, is not uncommon. If you regularly consume treated canola, soy or corn products, what is your level of oral exposure? Consuming water from agricultural areas, it’s likely (and determined in some areas) you are getting oral exposures of neonics.

  • Goldfinger

    Nobody can post something that doesn’t exist.

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