Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Popcorn's bee-killing secret

Dear MoveOn member,

I'm Larissa Walker from the Center for Food Safety, and I started a petition to the President and CEOs of Diamond Foods and Weaver Popcorn Company, which says:

I am very concerned about the use of neonicotinoid insecticides as a coating on seeds used to grow your company's popcorn products. As you may know, bees and other pollinators are suffering alarming population losses, and scientists consistently identify pesticides, specifically a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids, as a primary factor in poor pollinator health.

As leaders of two of the largest popcorn brands in the U.S., I urge you to commit to phasing out the use of neonicotinoid-coated corn seeds in your popcorn products. Your two companies can make a big difference by using their considerable purchasing power to work with seed distributors and growers to drastically reduce the harmful use of neonicotinoid seed coatings that endanger bees.

It's no secret we love popcorn. In fact, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year.1 But we're getting more than we bargained for in all those bowls of popcorn: bee-toxic pesticides.

Bees are dying at alarming rates, and scientists have identified a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids ("neonics") as a prime culprit in these drastic population losses. The largest single use of neonicotinoids is as a seed coating for field crops. In fact, researchers estimate that upwards of 90% of all field corn grown in the U.S. comes from seed coated with bee-toxic neonic chemicals.2

Unfortunately, the popcorn industry uses bee-killing chemicals on their seeds, too. That's why we're calling on Pop Secret and Pop Weaver, two of the biggest brands in the industry, to urge them to source their popcorn from seeds that are NOT coated in these harmful chemicals. Click here to add your name.

Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, and are a class of systemic chemicals, meaning they are dispersed throughout the treated plant, rendering the whole plant toxic. Just as alarming, neonics can last in the environment for years and they can harm species that the chemical was not designed to kill—like bees, butterflies, birds, and entire food chains.

As two of the largest popcorn brands in the U.S., Pop Secret and Pop Weaver can make a big difference for bees by phasing out their use of neonic-coated seeds.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.


–Larissa Walker


1. "Industry Facts," The Popcorn Board, accessed October 20, 2015

2. "90 Percent of Corn Seeds Are Coated With Bayer's Bee-Decimating Pesticide," Mother Jones, May 16, 2012

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