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Maize seed may now be treated with "Mesurol flüssig" again

Authorisations for neonicotinoids are still suspended due to the hazards to bees

The Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) put the authorisation for the plant protection product, "Mesurol flüssig", back into force on 9 February 2009 in conjunction with certain restrictions. It may now be sold and used again. The product, containing the active substance methiocarb, had been authorised in Germany for 25 years until the authorisation was suspended in May 2008. During this period, no damage to bees was reported, nor findings which gave rise to concern.

The plant protection product is for protecting seeds and plants from pests. The BVL has established a quality standard for treating the seed. The product must be combined adequately with the seeds so that abrasion does not exceed 0.75 g dust per 100,000 seeds. Furthermore, the maize may only be sown with special equipment which prevents abrasion of the product from entering the environment as dust. The Julius-Kühn-Institut has published a list of equipment which reduces the amount of active substances entering the environment as dust in the air by at least 90 percent. Taking these measures into account, it is considered safe for bees to sow maize which has been treated with methiocarb.

On the contrary, it has not yet been fully clarified to what extent and how bees come into contact with the active substances in plant protection products belonging to the neonicotinoid group (clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid). In addition, on the basis of new findings, the question has arisen as to whether drops of liquid from plants which are taken in by bees pose an additional risk. For this reason, the BVL has decided to continue to suspend authorisations for the group of neonicotinoids.

In the spring of 2008, certain regions in southern Germany reported cases of bee mortality. The reason was maize seed which had been treated with the insecticidal active substance clothianidin. The active substance did not adhere properly to the seeds in some batches. In addition, sowing equipment was used which operated with air pressure and emitted dust from abrasion into the air so that this landed on flowering plants and was taken in by bees. After these incidents became known, the BVL took precautionary measures and suspended the authorisation of several plant protection products for treating maize and rapeseed on 15 May 2008. The BVL put authorisations for the product for treating rapeseed back into force on 25 June 2008 after evidence had shown that the problems resulting from maize seed were not transferable to rapeseed.

List of drift reducing sowing equipment
The list of equipment which reduces the rate of the active substance entering the environment as dust in the air is held at the Julius-Kühn-Institut and can be found here.

Determination of percentage of fine dust from maize seed treated with insecticides
The description of the method for determining the percentage of fine dust from maize seed treated with insecticides is available at the Julius-Kühn-Institut here.

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