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Bee safety meeting

MEDIA RELEASE

26 August 2014

Bee safety a hot topic

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Plant & Food Research have co-hosted a meeting of key stakeholders in the bee world to discuss bee safety.

The meeting attracted representatives from Federated Farmers, the National Beekeepers Association, industry associations, the Ministry of Primary Industries, Crown Research Institutes, multinational agrichemical companies and grower industry bodies.

Sarah Gardner, General Manager, Applications and Assessment at the EPA, said the meeting was timely because August is Bee Awareness month.

“There is no doubt that the health of bees is paramount,” she said. “They’re key contributors to our economy as pollinators of our horticultural crops and producers of our highly sought after New Zealand honey.”

The Environmental Protection Authority works closely with other agencies and groups to monitor the risks of all insecticides to bees and other insects. The meeting was an opportunity for different agencies to get together to share their understanding of bee safety.

“We are committed to supporting bee safety. Our scientific staff monitor international developments in science and keep close watch on what other regulatory bodies are doing internationally.”

In line with overseas regulators in the US and Europe, the EPA is updating its requirements for applicants seeking approval to allow new pesticides to be used in New Zealand.

“We are demanding a much higher level of scientific evidence about the safety and effect of such products before considering them for approval,” she said.

The EPA has liaised closely over the past couple of years with the National Beekeepers Association. “We value the close working relationships we have developed with industry groups and look forward to consolidating these relationship at this meeting and in the future,” said Ms Gardner.

ENDS

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