European Union extends glyphosate approval, but France plans a ban

Marsha Scott
November 29, 2017

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has welcomed the granting of a new five-year licence for glyphosate which was announced today in Brussels.

The Commission will now adopt the decision before the current authorisation expires on 15 December, as provided for in the applicable European Union legislation.

The UK and 17 other European Union member states yesterday backed a five year extension to glyphosate's licence, which was due to expire next month.

The European Commission originally looked for approval for another decade, however, two previous votes at the Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed failed to a reach a qualified majority. The UK was among 18 member states that voted in favour of reauthorisation, as was Germany which had previously abstained.

"Today's vote shows that when we all want to, we are able to share and accept our collective responsibility in decision making", European Union health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said. German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt said that he had not consulted with Merkel when ordering German officials to vote for the proposal, reports Politico. Anyone interested in building trust between interlocutors can not behave that way " the Environment Minister added.

While his position mirrors that of most British farmers, it contrasts with the concerns of environmentalists and other campaigners anxious by the chemical's alleged health risks.

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The EU risk assessment process of renewing the substance's license has been mired in controversy.

The chemical has been used by farmers for more than 40 years, but its safety was cast into doubt when a World Health Organisation agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concluded in 2015 it probably causes cancer.

Sarah Mukherjee, of Britain's Crop Protection Association, said in October: "Every independent scientific study into glyphosate has found it is safe for consumers, including the EU's own European Chemicals Agency and European Food Safety Authority".

Glyphosate - introduced under the name Roundup by United States agriculture giant Monsanto in 1974 - previously had a 15-year licence but it expired in June 2016.

More than 280 similar lawsuits are now pending against Monsanto, according to the U.S. right to know campaign.

France has already said it will unilaterally ban glyphosate within three years.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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