On March 15, members of the European Union (EU) voted on a proposed ban on neonicotinoid use on most crops, which would have taken effect July 1. The measure failed to pass and is currently going through the appeal process. But what is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing on this side of the pond?
Apparently, not much. The EPA is currently conducting a study on the effects of neonicotinoids on the environment, but is not scheduled to complete it for another five years. It also recently shot down a proposal to curtail the use of clothianidin, a type of neonicotinoid used on corn.
Neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, are suspected of causing the substantial declines in bee populations around the world that have been ongoing since 2005. They are also thought to be harmful to birds, according to a recent report by the American Bird Conservancy. More than 90 million acres of crops are coated with these chemicals every year.
"Unfortunately, [the] EPA is moving at a glacial pace in response to the threat from these insecticides," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., member of the Union of Concerned Scientists and expert on sustainable agriculture and plant pathology.
However, the EPA is re-evaluating its stance on neonicotinoids in light of the recent developments in the EU. Whether it decides to change the status quo remains to be seen.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.