A recent study by
Monsanto researchers, published in the Environmental
Toxicology and Chemistry journal, found RNA (ribonucleic) from genetically modified (GM) maize does not impact honeybees.
“Healthy pollinators are essential to our vegetable and canola businesses and sustainable agriculture overall,” Charla Lord, corporate engagement officer at Monsanto Co., recently told EP News Wire. “Like others, we are concerned about the variety of factors contributing to the decline in honey bees, including Varroa mites, disease, poor nutrition, pesticides (sprayed in the hive and unintentional exposures) and challenging weather conditions.”
Lord explained that Monsanto is working with many groups to develop reasonable, sustainable solutions for the various and complex issues facing honey bee health, including the Honey Bee Health Coalition, which brings together a diverse range of organizations to explore solutions to honey bee health. The coalition includes beekeepers, farmers, researchers, government agencies, agribusinesses, conservation groups, manufacturers and consumer brands, and other key partners.
“Regarding the erroneous allegations that the insecticidal proteins produced by some of our corn seeds harm honey bees, it’s important to understand that rigorous assessments have been conducted to ensure these products have no adverse impacts on honey bees,” Lord said.
Lord also explained that recent results from a meta-analysis of honey bee studies published in PLoS ONE concluded that GM-crops that produce insecticidal proteins do not negatively affect the survival of either honey bee larvae or adults.
“The majority of these studies were conducted under worst-case scenarios and support a conclusion that toxicity under field conditions is unlikely,” Lord said.
Additionally, Lord explained that several studies examined the potential for adverse effects on larval and adult honey bees from ingestion of GM-corn pollen. These studies corroborated previous research and findings.
“It demonstrated no adverse effects of GM-corn on honey bee survival, growth, development, foraging activity, digestion and colony performance,” Lord said.
When researching insecticidal double stranded RNA, Lord explained there were similar findings.
“Likewise, the recent findings presented for a GM-corn product expressing an insecticidal double stranded RNA demonstrated no adverse effects to larval survival and development and adult survival in honey bees,” Lord said. “These findings were derived in a manner consistent with current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, further supporting the safety conclusions in prior research and U.S. EPA approvals.”