Glyphosate: MEPs call for 'more scientific evidence' before re-authorisation

Written by Martin Banks on 7 June 2016 in News

Czech Republic MEP Pavel Poc has called for "more scientific evidence" before the EU decides whether to re-approve the controversial substance glyphosate.

Member states have failed to approve a limited extension of up to 18 months of the current authorisation of glyphosate, which is used for the production of pesticides.

The proposal failed to get the necessary support at a meeting of the EU standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed on Monday.

The issue has sparked intense debate and, on Tuesday, further reaction to the decision came from Poc, an S&D group member, who told this website, "The Commission has the obligation to take the decision, and it shouldn't be just a technical extension of the existing authorisation. 


"We need to have more scientific evidence, but until then the Commission is not bringing any real solutions to the existing problem, and it is not respecting the precautionary principle.

"A technical extension is a solution for the Commission, not for the European public. People want safe food and safe environment and this answer will be postponed for 18 more months, which is sad news for us," he said.

Elsewhere, Bart Staes, the Greens/EFA group environment and food safety spokesperson, added, "We applaud those EU governments who are sticking to their guns and are refusing to authorise this controversial toxic herbicide. 

"There are clear concerns about the health risks with glyphosate, both as regards it being a carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor. Moreover, glyphosate's devastating impact on biodiversity should have already led to its ban.

"Thankfully, the significant public mobilisation and political opposition to reapproving glyphosate has been taken seriously by key EU governments, who have forced the Commission to back down," said the Belgian MEP.

Fellow Belgian deputy Marc Tarabella, in charge of the protection of European consumers and agriculture for the Socialist group, said "many governments" are reluctant or refuse the use of glyphosate, including France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Austria, Luxembourg and Greece.

He said Belgium was a "steadfast defender of the pesticide and the multinational firm that produces it."

Addressing the potential risk to public health, his message is, "You do not mess with the health of 500 million Europeans."

Further comment came from Anna Gatt Seretny, communications manager of European Crop Protection, who said, "This no opinion from the committee is hugely disappointing. We share the sentiment voiced by Commissioner Andriukaitis last week when he said our decisions should remain based on science, not on political convenience. 

"We frequently hear politicians proclaim Europe has the safest food safety system in the world: with this decision all they do is cast doubt on that system, and create fear and confusion amongst Europe's consumers: the very people the system is designed to protect. 

"Failure to re-approve glyphosate would have significant negative repercussions for the competitiveness of European agriculture, the environment, and the ability of farmers to produce safe and affordable food."

The European Parliament has previously expressed itself in favour of a seven-year renewal.

Parliament wanted a maximum seven-year authorisation period, plus extensive restriction of use.


About the author

Martin Banks is a journalist for the Parliament Magazine

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