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Valuation of the Norwegian plant health regime from an environmental, economic and social perspective

Alternative title: Verdsetting av norsk plantevernregime fra et miljømessig, økonomisk og sosialt perspektiv

Awarded: NOK 4.0 mill.

The purpose of the project was to gain increased knowledge about the environmental, economic and social consequences of the regulation of plant health in Norway as well as methods for measuring and exploring these. A selection of case studies are used to shed light on the significance of various regulations for food safety, health, the environment, producer economy and consumer welfare, with focus on potential losses and gains. The first case study deals with the regulation of imports and the consequences of opening for import of apple trees in 2015. Field studies were carried out and in addition data from «FruktKlient» and from surveys with apple producers were used. The study finds that in the five years after opening for import, no quarantine pests originating in imported apple trees have been observed. The most important diseases on apple trees that can arrive with plant material, mainly fruit tree cancer, had neither a higher nor a lower incidence on imported trees compared to Norwegian-produced trees. There was a clear increase in the number of ha planted after opening for import. A review of studies on neonicotinoids shows that they have different sub-lethal effects on pollinating insects. The field study carried out in this project found no repellent effects on bees when this was applied as a night spray during flowering. This means that this has no direct effect on bees and the pollination they perform, but the bees can potentially take up the remedy in the days after spraying, and long-term effects cannot be ruled out. Estimated gross margin calculations show that a ban on pesticides can have negative economic consequences for apple producers if they are not replaced with other agents and other alternative measures that reduce the risk of crop loss. Qualitative focus group interviews and a quantitative survey show that consumers are concerned about pesticide use and believe that authorities and producers have about the same responsibility for ensuring that this does not harm pollinating insects. Data from surveys with apple producers show that they largely feel responsible for the safe use of pesticides, but they also believe that the authorities' work in this field is very important. Some apple producers would like to have access to more pesticides, and there is a wish that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority increase efforts to understand the producers' situation. The various stakeholders in the production and sale of foodstuffs are responsible for ensuring that the foodstuff regulations are complied with. Public monitoring and control are important for pesticide residues in food and feed. Industry control depends on well-functioning internal control systems, but the probability of detecting breaches of the regulations seems to be limited. In the mycotoxin area, however, industry control has been the most consistent element of monitoring and control of mycotoxins in cereals, but this has been concentrated on only the mycotoxin (DON) in oats and wheat, as well as HT2 + T2 toxins in oats for groats. However, current knowledge about toxicity and possible health effects of various mycotoxins and a recent risk assessment carried out by VKM, point to a clear need for increased monitoring in this area. The prerequisites for sufficient monitoring from a food safety perspective are essentially the same for both mycotoxins and pesticides. Updated knowledge of consumption patterns and products with a high risk of occurrence of substances harmful to health, as well as limit values and a health risk assessment that to the greatest possible extent reveals real health risk, is fundamental. Regulations concerning plant imports, pesticides and monitoring are to a certain extent governed at EU level or through other international obligations, but Norway still has a relatively large room for maneuver with regard to the development of plant health management in general and import control in particular. This includes both the possibility of linking Norway more closely to the EU regulations, possibly incorporating the plant health area into the EEA agreement, and the possibility of maintaining a national set of rules and introducing measures to improve this. This means that it is highly relevant to increase knowledge about the consequences of various regulatory measures, which can be used when assessments of such measures are to be made. Assessment of the possible consequences of regulations for imports, pesticide use and monitoring shows that this affects producer economy, the environment, health and consumers in various ways, making trade-offs necessary. Knowledge is a prerequisite for being able to make the right trade-offs, and although there are often methodological challenges in both biology and social sciences, it is important to carry out studies to have the best possible knowledge base. It is also of great importance that knowledge that already exists is used when regulations formulated.

Økt kunnskap om: - betydningen for bl.a. avlinger og produsentøkonomi av å ha åpnet for import av epletrær - effekten av tiakloprid på pollinerende insekter, samt om økonomiske effekter av å begrense tilgangen til insektsmidler som Calypso - overvåking av plantevernmidler og forskjeller mellom funn av plantevernmiddelrester på norskprodusert og importert eple og jordbær - mykotoksiner, bl.a. effekten av ulike økonomiske insentiver til å gjennomføre tiltak - epleprodusenters oppfatninger av regelverket for plantehelse som angår deres arbeid, og hva de mener er positivt og problematisk med dette - forbrukernes verdsetting av det arbeidet som utføres av norske myndigheter på plantehelseområdet - ulike metoder for beregning av verdi av ikke-markedsgoder - forbrukere og produsenters ansvarstilskriving for å sikre at bruk av plantevernmidler ikke skader pollinerende insekter - Oversikt over ulike konsekvenser av Mattilsynets regelverk

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA) has an important role in our society. Through its regulations it ensures access to healthy food and safe drinking water, and secures producers healthy plants and safety in their working environment. However, it is difficult to measure the impact of the different regulative measures of the NFSA, and particularly the value of the different consequences of the regulations, which affects environmental, social and economic aspects of our society. Moreover, one particular regulation will have different effects, and there will necessarily be trade-offs: what is positive from one point of view, is negative from another. In this project we use three different case studies, where each case represents a particular regulative measure: 1) Import restrictions, 2) Pesticide regulation and 3) Monitoring schemes. In the case studies we will estimate different effects of a regulative measure on the environment, on producers and the farming industry, and on consumers. In the case of import restrictions, we will estimate how regulations affect apple production through risk of disease spreading, using European canker as an example. In the case of pesticide regulation we will estimate the effect of different use of pesticides on pollinators and apple production. In the case of monitoring schemes we estimate the various economic effects of maximum levels for selected mycotoxins in cereal production. In addition we will estimate consumer valuation concerning pesticide and mycotoxin risk in food, import restrictions and the Norwegian plant health regime in general. Each case study will focus particularly on presenting and explaining different methodologies for measuring environmental, social and economic effects of the regulation in question. The last part of the project will synthesise the results of the case studies, assess different methods for evaluating trade-offs between different effects and provide recommendations for the NFSA

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