Victory! Preferred Popcorn Nixes Bee-Toxic Neonics
By Larissa Walker, Pollinator Program Director
October 3, 2016
There’s more good news in the pollinators and popcorn world, and it’s just in time for National Popcorn Poppin’ Month. We’re excited to share that a third company, Preferred Popcorn, a fully farmer-owned company that provides popcorn to popular popcorn brands and movie theater concessions, has taken bold steps toward removing bee-toxic insecticides from their popcorn supply chain. As many consumers are aware, the most widely-used class of insecticides, neonicotinoids (neonics for short), are harmful to both bees and the broader environment.
That’s why exactly one year ago CFS launched a new market campaign, and with the help of our members, we’ve been encouraging popcorn companies to phase out the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. Only a couple of months after launching this campaign, we were thrilled that two of the leading companies saw value in the idea – Pop Weaver and Pop Secret both committed to phase out their use of neonics in order to help protect bees, other pollinators, and the environment. The momentum has continued to grow over the past year, and we’re now happy to applaud Preferred for not only agreeing to completely remove neonics from their supply chain by 2017, but also for their leadership in launching the addition of a certified organic popcorn line to their inventory.
Unlike Competitors, Orville Redenbacher’s is Still Bad for Bees
By Larissa Walker, Pollinator Program Director
April 13th, 2016
For years now, bees have been dying at alarming rates and scientists have identified a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”) as a leading culprit in population losses and poor colony health. The largest single use of neonics is as a seed coating for field crops, like corn. Researchers estimate that 79-100% of all corn grown in the U.S. comes from seeds coated with neonic chemicals, and popcorn is no exception.
So last October CFS launched a new campaign urging popcorn companies to stand up for bees and stop sourcing their popcorn from seeds that are coated in harmful neonic chemicals.
Within just a couple of months, two of the largest popcorn companies, Pop Weaver and Pop Secret, agreed to phase out their use of neonics as a commitment to bees, other pollinators and the environment.
But there was one company – the biggest in the popcorn industry – that up until the end of January had not replied to our numerous letters, calls, or emails: Orville Redenbacher’s, owned by ConAgra foods.
Popcorn giant commits to following Pop Weaver’s lead in commitment to phase out bee-toxic seed coatings
(November 25, 2015)—Center for Food Safety (CFS) today congratulated Pop Secret, owned by Diamond Foods (DMND), for taking a bold step towards removing bee-toxic insecticides from their popcorn supply. In October, CFS launched a campaign urging the company to phase out the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. In an email to CFS late last week, Pop Secret committed to following the same phase-out plan as one of their suppliers, Pop Weaver. The plan includes “removing 50% of its neonicotinoids usage in 2016, 75% in 2017, with a long-term commitment of further reducing usage by working with agricultural universities and those companies supplying neonicotinoids to the seed industry.” This is the now the second U.S. food company to commit to phasing out uses of neonicotinoid seed coatings.
Just a week after the launch of a CFS campaign, the popcorn giant has made a precedent setting commitment to phase out bee-toxic seed coatings
(October 22, 2015)—Center for Food Safety (CFS) today congratulated Pop Weaver, the second largest popcorn supplier in the country, for taking a bold step towards removing bee-toxic insecticides from their popcorn supply. Just this month, CFS launched a campaign urging the company to phase out the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. In an announcement yesterday on their website and Facebook page, Pop Weaver committed to “removing 50% of its neonicotinoids usage in 2016, 75% in 2017, with a long-term commitment of further reducing usage by working with agricultural universities and those companies supplying neonicotinoids to the seed industry.” This is the first U.S. food company to commit to phasing out uses of neonicotinoid seed coatings. CFS’s campaign also targeted Pop Secret, which sources much of its popcorn from Pop Weaver, and is working to secure a similar commitment from the company.
“We are pleased to see a leader in the popcorn industry make this commitment to protecting bees and the environment,” said Larissa Walker, pollinator program director at Center for Food Safety. “With a large share of the market, Pop Weaver has the ability to not only become leaders in pollinator protection but to also influence their competitors in the popcorn seed market to do the same. This is a very important market shift.”
Details of Pop Weaver’s phase-out plan have yet to be released. “We have offered to work with Pop Weaver and other popcorn companies to effectively reach these benchmarks and ultimately phase out the use of bee-toxic seed coatings all together,” said Walker.