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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Council of the European Union - Note from the French Authorities - State of play on the active substance thiamethoxame on bee health

Council of the European Union, Brussels, 25 April 2012

from: General Secretariat
to: Council
Subject: Insecticide substance thiamethoxan

- Information from the French delegation

Delegation will find in Annexes a document submitted by the French delegation to be presented under "ANy other business" at the Council ("Agriclture and Fisheries") at its session on 26 - 27 April 2012.

Note from the French Authorities

State of play on the active substance thiamethoxame 

On March 29 of this year was published online in the journal Science an article entitled "A Common Pesticide Decreases Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees" by Henry (Science 1215039DOI:10.1126/science.1215039). This article is related to the work of a French research team on the possible sub-lethal effects of the active substance thiamethoxame on bees (Apis mellifera).

Thiamethoxame is an ensecticide included in various plant protetion products, that can be used either for seed treatment of some plant species such as pea, beet or maize, or for spraying of the aerial part of the crops.

This product is authorised and used in several Member States, and rape seeds treated with products containing thiamethoxame would have been cultivated in 2010 on more than 2 800 000 ha, that is 2/5 of the total surfaces of rape cultivated in the EU.

Considering the particular sensitivity of the question of the effects of insecticides on bee health, the French Authorities wish to ensure that the Member States and the Commission are fully informed about it.

The French Authorities deem it important to bring this study to the attention of the other Member States and of the Commission. What is important is that the question of the possible consequences of this new data is taken into account in a joint and harmonised framework, on the basis of the conclusions form the EFSA and from the national evaluation bodies, concerning the conditions for the approbation (Part A) of thiamethoxam (Part A) in Regulation (EU) n 540/2011. They also wish the impact of this study on the modalities for the assessment, according to uniform principles established by Regulation (EU) n 546/2011, of the effects of insecticides, in terms of toxicity and consequences on the behaviour of non-target species, in particular for bees, to be evaluated. 

They inform the Member States that they have also questioned their Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) as well as the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), in order to assess the considered experimental data. The ANSES opinion is due on May 31 and the French Authorities will ensure to share it with the Member States and the Commission.

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