Bees play a vital role in our environment and our economy. Parliament calls for measures to better protect them and combat imports of adulterated honey. The importance of bees Bees pollinate crops and wild plants, helping to preserve biodiversity and food safety. At least 84% of plant species and 76% of food production in Europe depend on bee pollination, with an estimated economic value of € 14.2 billion per year. In recent decades, bee health has deteriorated and has high mortality rates are recorded. Possible causes include intensive farming and pesticide use, poor bee nutrition, viruses, and invasions by invasive species (such as the varroa destroyer, the Asian wasp, the small hive beetle, and the American rotworm). and the destruction of their habitats. Although progress has been made recently, some Member States are still having problems. What the European Parliament proposes On 1 March, Parliament adopted an initiative report by Norbert Erdus (EPP, Hungary) calling for more action to better protect and support the European sector. beekeeping. The measures mentioned in the report include the following: Increase funding for national beekeeping programs Improving bee health (banning harmful pesticides, more research or breeding programs for example) Better protection of local and regional bee varieties hives and employs around 600,000 beekeepers, producing about 250,000 tonnes of honey each year. This makes the EU the second largest producer of honey after China. The largest honey producing countries in 2015 were Romania, Spain and Hungary. But to cover its domestic consumption, the EU also imports honey from third countries, mainly from China. Fighting imports of adulterated honey Honey is the third most adulterated product in the world. The EU defines honey as a natural sweet substance and in its honey directive it has set synthesis criteria based on high standards. However, according to EU tests, 20% of the samples taken at the EU’s external borders and This is because, for example, sugar syrup has been added or honey has been collected too early and then dried artificially. MEPs want to combat counterfeit honey on the EU market , because it puts pressure on European beekeepers, leads to falling prices and raises questions about consumer protection. That is why they are calling for measures to improve testing procedures and intensify import inspections to better detect counterfeiting. honey and the imposition of heavier penalties on fraudsters. MEPs also want to improve the honey labeling system to ensure that consumers know the country of origin of the product. The report adopted by Parliament also calls for more effective promotion of honey consumption and its health benefits, especially among children in schools.
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