Your Popcorn May Be Harming Bees

It is common for pesticide companies to coat seeds, like corn, with pesticides as yet another way to keep unwanted pests from munching on farmers’ crops. Horrifying, yes. But this isn’t just something that should worry you for your own health—this practice of pesticide-coating is having a truly horrifying effect on bees. And yes, your popcorn is a huge part of the problem.

One group of pesticides in particular is causing huge issues for our precious pollinators—they’re called neonics. Throughout the years of research on the bee die-off and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), researchers have grown more and more suspicious of neonics. These neurotoxins are devastatingly potent, infiltrating every cell of the plant, causing chronic damage and death in bees, butterflies and birds alike. Their unconstrained potency gives them the capacity to wipe out entire species. And our precious bees are on the front lines, their populations diminishing year after year due to the likely involvement of neonics.

And yet, between 79 and 100 percent of corn is coated with neonics, and that includes your precious popcorn kernels. What’s most upsetting is, according to the Center for Food Safety, “…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.”  

As worrisome as that is, bees don’t pollinate corn. Corn, as you may know, is wind pollinated and doesn’t require bee pollination. How can the pesticides on corn kernels hurt bees? Unfortunately, when seeds are coated, only a small fraction of the chemicals actually enter the plant. The vast remainder remains floating around in the environment, infiltrating the water supply, contaminating nearby wildflowers, blowing on dusty winds and resisting breakdown. It slowly seeps in and decimates hives, putting our bees and the foundation of our entire food supply in huge jeopardy.

Yes, if you eat the most popular brand of popcorn in America, your kernels have probably been coated with harmful pesticides at some point. The brands Pop Secret and Pop Weaver have already committed to phasing out toxic bee pesticides on their kernels, but until Orville and its sister companies jump on board to make a shift in the market, this is still a looming issue.

Popcorn’s Dirty Secret from Center for Food Safety on Vimeo.

Neonics can exist in the environment for years after they are introduced, which means they will continue to harm and kill bees, birds and butterflies long after the crops are dead and gone. Since bees are responsible for pollinating every 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat, using a known bee-killer like neonics on the vast majority of our corn, soy and canola crops seems foolish. Without bees, many of your favorite foods would disappear.

Would you like to pressure your favorite brands, like Orville Redenbacher, to stop taking selfish shortcuts and to ditch neonic-coated seeds? Start Care2 petition targeting popcorn companies and get support from fellow bee-lovers.

Related:

Could You Be a Fruitarian?
Sticking to Your Diet Is About More Than Willpower
Stop Being Afraid of Boredom

83 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y3 days ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y3 days ago

thanks

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John J
John J3 days ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J3 days ago

thanks for sharing

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William C
William C10 months ago

Thanks.

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Twila H.
Twila H2 years ago

Not going to give up eating everything that gets deemed/labeled as bad or harmful. Popcorn stays in my house.

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W. C.
W. C2 years ago

Thank you.

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Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

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Anne H.
Anne H2 years ago

Really interesting and i want to keep on following this topic.

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Not the popcorn- bad farming.

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