Monsanto reiterates its confidence in glyphosate

Monsanto business director Gary Philpotts has said the firm is "confident in the clear scientific consensus about the safety of glyphosate, in agreement with the findings of the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) comprehensive review published in November 2015".

This follows EFSA's reply to criticism of the EU assessment of glyphosate that was overseen by EFSA last year. Last year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a monograph on glyphosate. This stated that the herbicide, which is approved for safe use in the EU, is "probably carcinogenic".

IARC scientists criticised EFSA's conclusions in a letter to EFSA, but Philpotts has dismissed their concerns. "IARC's March 2015 opinion is an outlier in this body of scientific evidence," he said.

"However, IARC's opinion fits with anti-chemical campaigners' views and marketing needs; we expect these groups to continue to invest in communications seeking to cast doubt on the scientific consensus about glyphosate safety, especially during 2016 as the EU glyphosate re-registration process continues."

He added: "The reason IARC and EFSA can come to different conclusions about glyphosate safety is because their approach and assessment methods are different.

"Which conclusion or opinion is 'correct' depends on your point of view on the methods used by the two agencies. For me, the EFSA methodology is the one that is more scientific, pragmatic and balanced."

Philpotts said it is important to note that in drawing its conclusions EFSA did not "disregard" IARC's opinion.

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