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Posted 25 May 2004

France suspends use of Gaucho insecticide for corn

See also below: Insecticide ban as billions of bees die

French Agriculture Minister Herve Gaymard on Tuesday announced it planned to stop use of the Gaucho pesticide to treat corn seeds until it is reviewed by the European Commission in 2006.

In January last year, Gaymard had already extended for three years suspension of the use of Gaucho, a chemical produced by the German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer, for treatment of sunflower seeds.

Gaucho, like another pesticide Regent TS produced by German chemicals giant BASF, has been accused by French bee-keepers of causing a high mortality rate among bees. Sales of Regent TS was suspended in France last February.

An agriculture ministry report deemed that the government's decision to give farmers till June to use up their remaining stocks of pesticide was much less costly that destroying the crop seeds already sprayed.

But the national association of bee-keepers says massive damage is being done to bee populations, which are crucial to plant pollination.

Subsidiaries of Bayer and BASF, which sold Regent TS, are under criminal investigation in France for selling an agricultural product that is toxic to humans or animals.

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