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On 18 July 2022 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) launched a public consultation regarding revisions to its guidance document on the risk assessment of pesticides on bees—specifically honey bees, bumble bees, and solitary bees. The deadline for comments is set for 3 October 2022.
The provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 Concerning the Placing of Plant Protection Products on the Market mandate that plant protection products may only be approved if they do not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the environment, including nontarget species. It also contains specific provisions on honey bees. In particular, it requires that approval be conditional on “negligible exposure of honey bees…[and] no unacceptable acute or chronic effects on colony survival and development.” To that end, EFSA issued a guidance document on the risk assessment of pesticides on bees in 2013. Unfortunately, this guidance document was not fully adopted, due to a lack of consensus among member states.
The proposed revision to the guidance document is the result of EFSA’s consultation with stakeholders as well as member states, which began in 2019. The “effect-tier assessment of the PPP” on bees includes consideration of long-term effects of low doses as well as sublethal effects of pesticides. The 147-page guidance document contains four appendices (some of which are available as separate spreadsheets) and three stand-alone annexes. The appendices provide examples and working parameters for dietary exposure, while the annexes provide information and recommendation for testing and trials.
Stakeholders are invited to submit comments on the proposed revision to the guidance document to EFSA through the public consultation website. Comments must be received by no later than 3 October 2022.