Protesters concerned about the alleged impact of Bayer pesticides demonstrated outside the Berkeley campus on May 16. Photo: Tracey Taylor

A group of about fifty protesters from Taking Back Our Food System, an East Bay coalition of food, Occupy, and environmental and human rights activists, staged a demonstration outside Bayer’s plant on Parker Street in west Berkeley Wednesday afternoon to protest what it said was the pharmaceutical company’s role in creating pesticides that killed bees.

The demonstrators claim that Bayer is a major producer of Neonicotinoid pesticides (Neonics) and that research show this line of pesticides has a direct role in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). “Because bees pollinate a most of the world’s food, Bayer’s Neonic pesticides are a threat to our food supply,” they said in a statement read at the demonstration.

The protesters' goal was to present a satirical "poison heart award" to the pharmaceutical company. Photo: Tracey Taylor

According to three recent studies, Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides, that coat upwards of 90% of US corn seeds and seeds of increasing portions of other major crops like soy, have emerged as a likely trigger for colony collapse disorder.

The 43-acre Bayer campus in Berkeley, which employs more than 1,500 people, is focused on biotechnology, in particular the manufacturing of a leading therapeutic treatment for hemophilia A, and does not make pesticides.

Calls to Bayer for comment had not been returned at the time of writing.

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...