GMO (genetically modified organisms)

For different reasons the GMO issue is important for apiculture.

Nowadays more than 60 million hectare GMO crop are cultivated in the world with increasing tendency. It is mainly corn, soy and cotton.
In Switzerland the cultivation of GMO crop is not yet allowed. Nevertheless the topic of coexistence is on the political agenda and research as well as politics are challenged to propose answers to many questions and to deliver a basis for future decisions.
Products of apiculture are especially exposed to the GMO issue since honey bees will not stop collecting at the border of a GMO field. Pollen and nectar of GMO crop are as much attractive as from conventional origin. One question arising is: are active substances from transgenic plants harmful to the insects especially the honey bees. 

We have some interesting results with respect to that question from research collaboration between the Swiss Bee Research Centre and with the research group Biosafety in Reckenholz.

Neue Erkenntnisse zu möglichen Auswirkungen von transgenem Bt-Mais auf Bienen (German (PDF, 90 kB, 23.09.2016) and French (PDF, 93 kB, 23.09.2016))
D. Babendreier, J. Romeis, F. Bigler, P. Fluri (2006)

Sind Honigbienen durch den Einsatz von insektenresistenten transgenen Pflanzen einem Risiko ausgesetzt? (German (PDF, 160 kB, 22.09.2016), French (PDF, 168 kB, 22.09.2016) and Italian (PDF, 162 kB, 22.09.2016))
S. Keil, J. Romeis, P. Fluri, F. Bigler (2002)

Influence of Bt-transgenic pollen , Bt-toxin and protease inhibitor (SBTI) ingestion on development of the hypophryngeal gland in honeybees (PDF, 160 kB, 22.09.2016)
D. Babendreier, N.M. Kalberer, J. Romeis, P. Fluri, E. Mulligan, F. Bigler (2005)

Pollen consumption in honey bee larvae: a step forward in the risk assessment of transgenic plants (PDF, 372 kB, 22.09.2016)
D. Babendreier, N. Kalberer, J. Romeis, P. Fluri, F. Bigler (2004)


A second question is dealing with the products: Honey comprising nectar and pollen from transgenic plants: is it a GMO food in terms of food labelling? And how about pollen as a food stuff itself? Even if there should be no GMO crop for food allowed but only plants for feed and energy production the respective bee pollen will be on the market as a GMO food.Vor allem die Haltung ist biologisch

Vor allem die Haltung ist biologisch (German) (PDF, 677 kB, 22.09.2016)
P. Gallmann (2006)