"No legitimate reason" not to re-authorise glyphosate for 15 years, says farming group

There is "no legitimate reason" not to re-authorize the use of the active substance glyphosate for a further 15 years, the EU's largest farm lobby Copa-Cogeca outlined in a letter to Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker this week.

In the correspondence dated April 25, Presidents Martin Merrild (Copa) and Thomas Magnusson (Cogeca) threw their weight behind "science-based decision-making processes in the EU" following positive scientific opinions from key European agencies.

They recall the scientific assessments of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) & the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) that conclude "glyphosate cannot be considered to be carcinogenic". "Therefore, there are no safety concerns regarding the use of glyphosate in crop production", the farm lobbyists, which represent over 23 million farmers and 22,000 agricultural cooperatives, add.

Furthermore, European farmers "are highly competent & have training (based on up-to-date scientific knowledge) in applying plant protection products safely & in carrying out regular checks on their spraying equipment", they stress.

"Questioning science-based decision-making processes will have a negative impact on the credibility of the EU’s authorities & would be detrimental to our economy", they outline, urging policymakers to renew the approval of the world’s most widely used weed-killer glyphosate for another 15 years "in accordance with EU legislation".

This week, President Juncker on responded to a letter from some MEPs in March asking him to "critically revise the validity" of industry-funded research that featured in glyphosate safety reviews, conducted by the European Food Safety Authority and European Chemical Agency.

Juncker replied, in a response obtained by Politico: "There is no reason to doubt the scientific evaluations and the conclusions on glyphosate made by the European Union."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has previously said glyphosate is a potential cancer hazard. However over the past two years the US Environmental Protection Agency, European Food Safety Authority, UN/World Health Organization, German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety & Health to the European Chemicals Agency as well as New Zealand's Environmental Protection Authority have all found that glyphosate poses no cancer risk.

Said Juncker: "Following the presentation of the final opinion of the European Chemical Commission, the Commission services will resume discussions with the Member States with regard to the possible renewal of the authorization due to the legal obligation to take a decision within six months of the receipt of the notice, or by the end of 2017 - at the latest."

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