- There are roughly 40 insecticides currently registered for use as an active chemical on popcorn, including 3 bee-toxic neonic chemicals: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid.1 Between 79 and 100 percent of corn seed in the U.S. is coated with neonics, and popcorn is no exception.
- Despite the heavy use of seed coatings in agriculture, particularly on corn crops, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency do not consider seed coatings a pesticide application and therefore do not track their usage—leading to widespread, unmonitored contamination across the U.S.
- The widespread use of neonic seed coatings on popcorn is particularly alarming because of their documented harm to pollinator species, like bees, that are vital to our food supply and environment.2 To date, more than 4 million Americans have called on the government to take stronger actions to protect bees from toxic pesticides like neonics.
- The popcorn seed market is dominated by three major companies: ConAgra foods, Weaver Popcorn Company, and Ag Alumni Seed. Weaver Popcorn Company and ConAgra are unique in that they supply the seeds, contract the farmers, process the seeds, and produce the product. Together the two vertically integrated companies share roughly two-thirds of the popcorn crop in the United States and they both have expanding international markets.
- Orville Redenbacher is ConAgra’s top selling popcorn brand and is also America’s most recognizable brand. Orville Redenbacher is sold in over 30 movie theater chains—including AMC theaters, the second largest movie theater chain in the country.
- ConAgra also owns Act II, Jiffy Pop, Fiddle Faddle, Poppy Cock, Vogel, and Healthy Choice, and a shift by ConAgra to non-neonic coated seeds would affect all of these popcorn brands.
- Three of the largest popcorn companies in the world—Pop Weaver, Pop Secret, and Preferred Popcorn—have already committed to phasing out bee-toxic pesticides.
2See http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/issues/304/pollinators-and-pesticides/fact-sheets/3683/neonicotonoid-study-index; http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/neonic-factsheet_75083.pdf; http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2012/120111KrupkeBees.html; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2664.12372/pdf; http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7550/full/nature14420.html; and http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/247292-pesticide-seed-coatings-no-good-for-farmers-and-bees
4Pop Weaver Official Statement: http://www.popweaver.com/news/2015-10-21Neonics%20Statement.pdf#zoom=66.7
5 Pop Secret Official Statement: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/diamondstatement_popsecretemail_65258.pdf