Category Archives: Agriculture

Honeybee Population Isn’t ‘Crashing’

Here’s Why

In recent years, articles on honeybees have often started with a sentence like this: “Populations of honeybees have crashed in recent years, and many researchers have pointed the blame at a class of widely used insecticides called neonicotinoids.”

In fact, that’s how an otherwise excellent article in The Scientist summarizing a recent USDA study on honeybees’ molecular responses to neonicotinoids began. The narrative that honeybees, which are not originally native to North America, face mortal danger––has been advanced by environmental groups for years and echoed in the media, in casual blogs and the mainstream science sites alike. This twist on the news is so pervasive that it’s often accepted without question: bee populations are rapidly declining as a result of pesticide use, particularly the use of neonics, and the crucial pollinators could be edging towards extinction, plunging our entire food system into chaos.

  • “Declining honeybee population could spell trouble for some crops,” blared a headline on Fox News last year.
  • “Death and Extinction of the Bees,” was the banner claim on the activist Centre for Research on Globalization.
  • “Honey Bees in a Struggle for Survival,” claimed a guest columnist writing earlier this month for a Tennessee newspaper.

The only problem is that it isn’t true.

Myth of Honeybee decline

Honeybee populations haven’t “crashed” in the United States or elsewhere. Honeybees are not going “extinct.” Crops are not “in trouble.”

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FDA Finds No Glyphosate Residue in Food

FDA testing of glyphosate residues in food found no detectable amounts of the herbicide in over half of commodities tested and minimal amounts in corn and soybean samples, the agency said today.

Those results were included in the FDA’s 2016 Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, which tested for 711 pesticides across 7,413 samples. The annual survey found that more than 99 percent of domestic and 90 percent of imported food samples were in compliance with federal pesticide standards, which the agency said “were consistent with previous years’ findings.”

“The findings in this report demonstrate that overall levels of pesticide chemical residues measured by the FDA are below EPA’s tolerances, and therefore at levels that are not concerning for public health,” the agency said in a news release.

The study marked the first time glyphosate and glufosinate were tested by the FDA. Researchers examined the presence of the chemical in corn, soybeans, milk and eggs. The agency discovered that more than 53 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues, and all the residues found in the corn and soybean samples were below the tolerance levels set by EPA. No amounts of glyphosate or glufosinate were found in milk or eggs.

Glyphosate, a chemical herbicide found in the popular weedkiller Roundup, has received heightened public scrutiny from some advocacy groups after the World Health Organization’s cancer research institute issued a finding that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA and other international regulatory bodies, however, contend that the chemical is safe for human use.

EPA’s conclusions vary from a controversial report from the Environmental Working Group that revealed glyphosate residue on popular foods such as cereal and granola bars, but the threshold for detecting pesticides was much lower than the standard employed by EPA. EWG followed up with the report by asking EPA to reduce the tolerance level for glyphosate in oats.

Article by Politicopro.com