Glyphosate Vote Cancelled, Approval Process Rocked

BREAKING: A national experts’ vote on the European Commission’s plan to grant a new 15-year lease to the herbicide glyphosate was cancelled today (Tuesday) as several countries raised concerns over cancer warnings by the World Health Organisation, Greenpeace report.


Delays had already occurred earlier in the week, following a closed door meeting yesterday, which was due to approve glyphosate until 2031.

Glyphosate approval runs out in June of this year.

Agweek cites EU anonymous sources said they no longer expected a decision at this meeting after France said last week it would oppose extending approval, while EU diplomats said Germany planned to abstain.

Both EU member states and agencies – the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organisation’s cancer agency, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC)  – are divided on glyphosate and its approval. The EFSA and IARC have given differing opinions on its carcinogenicity, with the former stating it is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans” and the latter claiming it is “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

On Friday, it was reported by the Guardian that the Netherlands and Sweeden also oppose approval: The Guardian quoted Swedish environment minister, Åsa Romson, who said: “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the Efsa scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”

The debate between the agencies has also been heated. As we reported recently the Parlimanetry hearing involving both the EFSA and IARC had some unusually fractious moments.

The EFSA’s executive director, Bernhard Url, railed about  a letter from a group of 96 independent and government scientists – including eight of the 17 members of the IARC working group and all sub group chairs – which claimed the EFSA glyphosate conclusion was “not supported by the evidence”; was “flawed” and should be “disregarded”.

He colourfully described it as “the first sign of the Facebook age of science. You have a scientific assessment, you put it in Facebook and you count how many people like it.”

Meanwhile Dr Chris Wild, the head of the IARC has demanded that the EFSA correct “misrepresentations” of IARC’s Monograph on glyphosate on its website and in distributed materials.

“Dr Wild insists that the corrections must be made before he will agree to meet with EFSA as planned to discuss their different verdicts on glyphosate” GM Watch reported.

More will be revealed on this story as it unfolds…


CEO on EFSA and glyphosate

Glyphosate: EU approval process seriously questioned

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About Oliver Moore (132 Articles)
Graduated with his PhD in November 2007 having studied the sociology of buying and selling of organic fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets in Ireland. Is published in academic journals and books, including the International Journal of Consumer Studies and the book Belongings (from the sociological chronicles series). Communications Manager and EU Correspondent with, a platform of 150+ NGOs campaigning for better food, farming, environment and rural policies in Europe.

A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, columnist with Food and Wine magazine, contributor to lots of other publications, including the Irish Times. Regular contributor to on RTE Radio 1. On line, along with too many he's a contributor to websites like Glenisk's. He's also occasionally heard on radio talking about articles that have just appeared, or about farming/food/organics in UCC, where he give classes on organics, Fair Trade, CSAs and other agri-food related areas.

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