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Bee-Ware of the Bottom Line

August 22, 2013
Charles Laquidara - Contributing Writer (charles.laquidara@gmail.com) , Maui Weekly

The mysterious collapse of bee colonies around the world has turned into a real crisis. In the U.S., bee populations have reached a 50-year low and keep dwindling. The situation is just as bad in many other countries. Since 71 percent of the world's food (worth hundreds of billions of dollars) depends on bees for pollination, this is not good news for anyone.

Beekeepers and the organic growers industry continue to shine a light on corporate "bee-washing" and big business spin efforts to subdue or to obfuscate a growing body of science that points to pesticides as playing a key role in bee mortality.

As it turns out, regulators in the U.S. and Europe are taking very different approaches to this issue.

Article Photos

and Another Thing...
Charles Laquidara

The European Union is banning a certain class of pesticides called "neonicotinoids" as a precautionary measure. The link between pesticides and bee die-offs is still subject to some dispute, but in the face of uncertainty, EU is "erring" on the side of the environment, voting to ban neonicotinoids for two years--just in case they really are to blame for the bee collapse.

European companies that produce neonicotinoid-based pesticides, including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, have lobbied strenuously against any moratorium.

In the U.S., regulators are moving more slowly. The Environmental Protection Agency and Monsanto-controlled FDA argue that there is a wide variety of reasons for the disappearance of our country's honeybees since 2006, and maintain that neonicotinoids are only one possible factor.

Monsanto incorporates the chemical into some of the seeds it produces. In the U.S., neonicotinoids are heavily used on the country's huge corn crop. Our regulators aren't ready to ban pesticides the way Europe just did. The EPA is "slowly conducting a review on the topic that should be completed in five years."

U.S. regulators are moving slooooooowly in setting restrictions and erring on the side of the bottom-line and certain economic interests.

And another thing: Why does the name Monsanto continue to rear its ugly head anytime food safety, GMOs, chemicals or the environment are the topic?

 
 

 

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