Food Market brings news, talk and insight into the food business, from farms to supermarkets to restaurants. Reporters Mike Hughlett and Tom Meersman delve into the work of Minnesota’s food companies and issues such as food safety and labeling.

Bee-friendly law for Minnesota

Posted by: Tom Meersman Updated: July 16, 2014 - 9:37 AM

A new plant labeling law that protects honeybees and other pollinators is now in effect in Minnesota.  The law requires that plants advertised as "beneficial to pollinators" must be free of detectable levels of certain insecticides.

Many plants sold in nurseries have been treated with systemic insecticides that move within the plant tissues and can potentially reach plant flowers where pollinators may be feeding or collecting pollen.  The new law, effective July 1, does not allow plants treated that way to be marketed as beneficial to bees, butterflies and other pollinators. 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture will enforce the law, which is intended to protect plant pollinators from exposure to the insecticide residues that may persist in flowering plants. MDA officials said they intend to enforce the new statute using a phased approach, focusing initially on educating the nursery industry and offering "compliance assistance" during inspections.

A fact sheet about the new law is posted on the MDA's web site at www.mda.state.mn.us/labelfactsheet

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