Disappointment over glyphosate vote postponement

All 28 member states met this week in Brussels, and had been expected to endorse a European Commission proposal to extend authorisation of glyphosate for 15 years until 2031 - but the vote to re-license has been postponed.

The existing approval expires at the end of June and a decision must be made by then.

The European Glyphosate Task Force is expecting a discussion between the Commission and Member States over the next couple of weeks. 

The EU glyphosate vote was subject to "horse trading" among nations according to glyphosate maker Monsanto at the Standing Committee meeting of March 7-8.

Crop Protecion Assocition chief executive Nick von Westenholz said: "It is disappointing that the vote to re-license glyphosate has been postponed, creating further uncertainty for farmers about the availability of this crucial tool for controlling a broad spectrum of weeds.

"We would urge member states to listen to the scientific advice of expert regulators and agree to relicense glyphosate. Numerous health assessments conducted by public authorities over the last 40 years have all concluded that, when used correctly, glyphosate poses no meaningful risk to human health.

"As an industry we take pride in the fact that our products are demonstrably safe. Pesticides are amongst the most heavily regulated products in Europe and it currently takes about ten years, costing over £150m to bring an active ingredient to market. It is this process, backed by effective and independent regulatory scrutiny, that ensures the public can have absolute confidence in our products."

Richard Garnett, chair of the Glyphosate Task Force, said: "The European approval process for pesticides is rigorous and transparent.  In the case of glyphosate, this has been one of the most comprehensive and thorough evaluations of an active substance ever. 

"More than 90,000 pages and more than 3,200 peer-reviewed publications were considered in the assessment by Member States and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This has been a rigorous, four-year process involving scores of experts on consumer and environmental safety from all 28 of the European Union’s Member States."

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