Defra did not have their evidence re neonicotinoids peer reviewed. Why?

June 6, 2013

in Bumblebees and their ecology, Red mason solitary bees

Let’s make money not honey……Pesticides – Fatally flawed Defra ‘evidence’-

Fera from Defra were asked to research the use of neonicotinoids and the decline in bees numbers, the resulting evidence was to be used to challenge the EU from banning the pesticides. This evidence has been duly rubbished by the EU scientists with their  response and our own bee experts.

EFSA’s experts highlighted a number of other deficiencies in the report. These include:

  • Inconsistencies and contradictory statements regarding the objectives of the study.
  • Absence of suitable control bee colonies. In particular, analysis of residues in pollen and nectar showed that the “control” site had been contaminated by thiamethoxam.
  • Environmental conditions were varied across the three the test sites, which reduces the sensitivity of the study in detecting effects on colonies.

Our own bumblebee expert Prof. Dave Goulson said in the Independent

“The Fera study is full of holes and is fatally flawed,” said Professor David Goulson, a bee researcher at the University of Sussex who has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles on insects.  Unlike most of the research that has informed the debate on the nerve agent pesticides, known as neonicitinoids, the Fera research was not published in a peer-reviewed journal but rather on the internet.

“There have been hundreds of proper papers that have been through the peer-review process but for some reason Defra (the Environment Department) and Ian Boyd (it’s chief scientific advisor) chose this. Instead of doing a study and putting it through peer review, they just put it on the Internet – that’s not how science proceeds,” Professor Goulson added.

Defra…… A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Farming and Agriculture (Defra) said: “”Fera’s study was a robust scientific work. It focused on bumblebees because they are a pollinator not currently covered by the European risk-assessment. “All new studies are useful as they contribute to the body of evidence. At present the body of evidence does not show that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptable risk to bees.”

Why no peer review Defra? Shame on you…Let’s make money not honey.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam June 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Bayer and Syngenta paid good money for happy data and DEFRA delivered!


nurturingnature June 8, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Sam, Syngenta supply bumblebees for agricultural pollination…


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