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Corporate Overview

The Standard - December 2021

Neonicotinoids of Particular Concern and Results from the 2019 European Union Report on Pesticide Residues in Food

Three neonicotinoid pesticides – clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam – have been of increased interest in both the United States and Europe for their potential adverse effects. Neonicotinoids have previously been speculated as a possible cause of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in honeybees, and in August 2021 the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) released draft evaluations stating the likelihood that clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam can adversely affect more than 1,000 endangered plants and animals.1

The European Union (EU) acted in 2013 by severely restricting the use of plant protection products and treatment seeds containing clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam to protect honeybees.2 Though the restrictions were put in place, the 2019 EU report on pesticide residues in food reported the presence of neonicotinoid (e.g. thiacloprid, acetamiprid) residues in honey and other apicultural products at or above the limit of quantification (LOQ), but below or at the maximum residue level (MRL).

The 2019 EU report analyzed 96,000 food samples all around EU Member States and found 4% exceeded the MRL. Those samples were analyzed for 182 pesticide residues: 158 in food of plant origin and 8 in food of animal origin. Many pesticides not approved in the EU were found on samples of EU-grown crops above the MRL, including carbofuran, cyfluthrin, dieldrin, and methomyl. Some imported food samples were analyzed as well and were found with non-approved residues also above the MRL, such as dichlorvos, fipronil, and permethrin.3

CIL offers a comprehensive range of stable isotope-labeled and native pesticide standards, including neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, and fipronil.



1Erickson, B.E. 01 September 2021. Neonicotinoids likely to adversely impact endangered species. Chemical and Engineering News.


3Cabrera, L.C.; Pastor, P.M. 07 April 2021. The 2019 European Union report on pesticide residues in food. EFSA Journal.

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