The European Commission Monday said it would move forward with a temporary suspension of three types of neonicotinoid pesticides amid concerns that the products are endangering bee populations.
The EU member states previously reached no conclusive decision on the issue last month, following release and review of a European Food Safety Report questioning the impact of the three pesticides, clothianidin, thiametoxam and imidacloprid, on bee health.
Because a "qualified majority" was not reached among member states, the decision was deferred to the European Commission, which said it would go ahead with the restrictions, despite an appeals committee vote in which only half of the states supported the proposed ban.
The ban, which will be effective December 1, 2013, prohibits the sale and use of seeds treated with the three nicotinoid pesticides in question, and restricts the use of the products to professionals.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, the pesticides are used mainly on sunflowers, oilseed rape, maize and some cereals.
Top pesticide companies Syngenta and Bayer maintain that the decision poses a threat to agricultural yields, food quality and loss of competitiveness for European agriculture.
"This will have a negative impact on farmers, R&D driven ag companies, the seed industry and the food value chain," Bayer said in a press statement. The company said that scientific evidence has taken a "back seat" in the decision making process.
"This disproportionate decision is a missed opportunity to reach a solution that takes into consideration all of the existing product stewardship measures and broad stakeholder concerns," the company said.