WASHINGTON, D.C. — Canada plans to phase out all outdoor agricultural uses of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides by 2021, according to reports.
The news comes on the heels of the EU voting to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on all outdoor crops. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not taken similar action, despite receiving more than six million public comments urging a ban on this class of pesticides in the U.S.
In response to the announcement, Tiffany Finck-Haynes, senior food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth, issued the following statement:
These bee-killing pesticides pose a serious threat to public health, the environment, and our entire food system. We applaud the Canadian government for recognizing the overwhelming body of scientific evidence on neonics and phasing out these dangerous pesticides.
Unfortunately, it looks like the EPA is trying to be the last agency on earth to recognize that these pesticides should be banned. In the U.S, both the EPA and corporations have failed to take appropriate action. Kroger and other leading food retailers in the U.S. continue to disregard science, and ignore the millions of Americans who want neonic pesticides banned. We urge Kroger and other retailers, along with the EPA, to do what is best for people and the planet and ban this toxic pesticide.
In the absence of federal action in the U.S., food retailers like Costco (NYSE: COST) are taking steps to reduce bee-killing pesticides. In June, the company updated its pesticide policy to encourage suppliers of fruits, vegetables and garden plants to phase out the use of chlorpyrifos and neonicotinoids, which will reduce farmworker and pollinator exposure. Later that month, Kroger (NYSE: KR) announced a new pollinator policy to phase out neonicotinoids on live garden plants in its stores and garden centers by 2020.
For more information on Friends of the Earth’s work on neonicotinoids, please see Swarming the Aisles II: Rating top retailers on pesticide reduction and organic food to protect pollinators.