Any discussion about bee health usually turns very quickly to the subject of pesticides and, specifically, neonicotinoids. It’s a topic that stirs passions, and sometimes scientists struggle to make their voices heard. Which is why I was so pleased to be invited to a meeting that took place in Parma a few days ago.
I was among a group of EFSA scientists who sat down with representatives of Greenpeace, Bee Life, Pesticides Action Network and beekeepers’ associations from Belgium, Italy and France to present our work and exchange ideas. The meeting covered a range of issues – from the procedural details of how EFSA and EU Member States assess pesticides, to technical matters related to synergistic effects and the use of data.
It was certainly a valuable meeting for us at EFSA and we hope for our guests as well. We didn’t get an easy ride, and neither did we expect one. EFSA sets great store by its relations with stakeholders – be they NGOs, consumer organisations or industry associations – because we know that accountability is the bedrock of rigorous, relevant science.
In addition to the discussion on pesticides, we had the chance to present EFSA’s MUST-B project, which is tackling many of the tricky scientific issues that were aired at the meeting. We hope as many of our partners and stakeholders as possible will take part in the consultations, data calls and other requests for support that we will be announcing over the coming months and years.
We can’t invite you all to Parma, but you can stay in touch via the Efsa4Bees website.
Ana Afonso is a scientific officer at EFSA.