Kroger takes steps to end toxic insecticides

Kroger announced a plan to phase out neonicotinoids that are harmful to people and bees. JAROD THRUSH / STAFF
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Kroger announced a plan to phase out neonicotinoids that are harmful to people and bees. JAROD THRUSH / STAFF

Kroger will begin phasing out plants treated by insecticides that are harmful to honey bees.

The Cincinnati-based retailer announced today that by 2020 the store no longer plans to sell plants in stores and garden centers that have been treated with neonicotinoids, an insecticide resembling nicotine.

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“The Kroger Co. recognizes the global honey bee population is vulnerable, with research indicating that a cause may include the use of pesticides containing neonicotinoids,” said a statement issued today.

This news comes a week after Kroger shareholders called for accountability for the company’s inaction on phasing out bee- and people-toxic pesticides. Both Costco and Whole Foods had taken steps to reduce the use of noenicitinoids and other pesticides.

Kroger was failing to protect bees and people from toxic pesticides, according to a 2018 Friends of the Earth scorecard.

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“Kroger remains open to continued engagement and dialogue with stakeholders on this important topic and will revisit and update its policy in the future,” the statement said.

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Kroger will seek help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other scientific experts to evaluate and update the policy.

Kroger has 44 supermarkets, 12 locations with ClickList services and another 10 locations with Starbucks services in the region. The popular grocer employs more than 8,100 associates in the Dayton region.

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