France to ban Swiss pesticide as bee threat

June 1, 2012
Bees swarm in a hive in Colomiers, southwestern France. The Cruiser insecticide used in the corn fields contains an active dangerous substance for bees. France's ministry of Agriculture has decided to ban the pesticide Cruiser Swiss group Syngenta used for rape and suspected to increase bee mortality, which could lead to an effective ban within weeks.

The French government is to ban a pesticide made by Swiss giant Syngenta used in rapeseed cultivation that has been found to shorten bees' lifespan, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said Friday.

"I have warned the group that sells Cruiser that I envisage withdrawing the licence to market," Le Foll said after the National Food, Environment and Work Safety Agency (ANSES) issued a damning report on the pesticide.

The Swiss chemical giant has 15 days to respond to the ANSES report's conclusion that the pesticide shortens bees' lifespans.

"ANSES's report brings in new elements and clearly shows the harmful effect of this product on bees' mortality and I want to take into account what has been said," Le Foll said.

The minister said he would raise the possibility of a European Union-wide ban with the European Commission and the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).

The ANSES report was called for in March after the journal Science published a French study demonstrating the harmful effects on of broad-spectrum thiamethoxam, found in Cruiser.

Explore further: Study: City bees better than rural bees

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