Organic producers welcome research linking bee decline to pesticide use
THE alarming decline in the bee population in many countries, including Scotland, which the just – published Stirling University research suggests is linked to the use of neonicotinoids, has prompted the organic community to highlight concern over the use of such products.
The research found exposure to even low levels of neonicotinoid pesticides had a serious impact on the health of bees.
Professor Dave Goulson, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, who led the study, said: “Some bumblebee species have declined hugely. For example in North America, several bumblebee species, which used to be common, have more or less disappeared from the entire continent. In the UK, three species have gone extinct.”
In response, the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association (SOMPA), which represents all the organic milk producing farms in Scotland, has backed the findings of the study.
Stuart Martin, of SOMPA, said: “I am delighted to see that the various bodies that represent organic producers throughout the country have come out so strongly against the use of these pesticides. Consumers can be assured that organic milk producers never use these pesticides.”
The Stirling University research is published in Science magazine.
Deborah Roberts of Scotland’s largest organic certification body, Scottish Organic Producers Association, added: “EU laws governing organic farming do not permit the use of artificial chemicals or fertilisers. The organic ban on artificial sprays protects insect life and helps bee populations.”
Laura Stewart, Head of Soil Association Scotland said: “While we support any farmers taking steps to encourage wildlife, shoppers choosing organic food can be confident they are supporting bee - friendly farming.”
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