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And the Award for Most Bee-Friendly Popcorn Goes to…

February 26th, 2016
By Larissa Walker, Pollinator Program Director
Center for Food Safety

This Sunday marks the 88th Academy Awards show, and what better way to watch the Oscars than with a bowl of popcorn in the comfort of your own home?  Movies and popcorn go together like birthdays and cake. There’s no question that for many people, popcorn ranks high on the list of snack favorites. In fact, Americans consume roughly 64 billion cups of popcorn every year!

Unfortunately, we’re getting more than we bargained for in all these bowls of popcorn: bee-toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for short. They’re similar to nicotine (hence the name) and are neurotoxins that harm bees in numerous ways.

The largest single use of neonics is as a seed coating for annual field crops (like corn, soy, canola, and wheat). Researchers estimate that 79-100% of all corn seed grown in the United States is coated with one or more neonic chemicals, and popcorn is no exception. The chemicals then seep into the surrounding environment, contaminating everything from soil, to water, to the nectar and pollen bees rely on.

That’s why Center for Food Safety launched a major retail campaign encouraging leading popcorn companies to do the right thing for bees and commit to phasing out uses of these toxic chemicals. After two of the largest popcorn brands in the world—Pop Weaver and Pop Secret—committed to phasing out bee-toxic pesticides, we’re now asking Orville Redenbacher’s, America’s most recognizable popcorn brand, to do the same.

Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy, bee-friendly popcorn choices to enjoy while we wait for Orville Redenbacher’s to step up and protect bees and other pollinators. So this year as you anxiously await the decisions of the Academy, check out some of these popcorn brands doing the right thing for bees:

  • Certified organic popcorn, by definition, prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides, so these products are neonic-free. Some great organic popcorn choices are Newman’s Own Organic Popcorn, Lesser Evil Buddha Bowl Popcorn, Quinn Popcorn, and Whole Foods 365 Organic Popcorn.
  • If you’re unable to find organic popcorn varieties, Pop Secret and Pop Weaver are the only two companies thus far to take a strong step for bees and commit to phasing out neonics in their products.

Still want to do more for bees? Visit our popcorn campaign website to learn more about the issues, and sign the petition urging Orville Redenbacher’s to do the right thing for bees.  There are also numerous other ways to help pollinators, starting in your homes and backyards – here are a few easy options to consider.  

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