EC delays glyphosate vote

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In a dramatic and unexpected move, the vote to approve glyphosate in Europe has been again postponed by the European Commission.

Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett commented: “It is extraordinary that what was until very recently considered the world’s safest pesticide has faced so much trouble getting re-authorised. Time is running out for glyphosate – its licence for use in the EU expires at the end of June.

“Last month, the European Parliament voted to severely restrict glyphosate’s use, signalling a dramatic blow, not just to the future use of glyphosate but to the pesticide industry generally. The views of not only the EU Parliament but also one of the largest farming countries in the EU – France, which has independently decided to ban glyphosate – supported by Sweden and others - have signalled a firm position in favour of a precautionary approach. Even Germany, whose scientists carried out the study for the EU that cleared glyphosate, is not voting in favour of continued use.

“The European Commission’s decision to postpone the vote on glyphosate means it is surely only a matter of time before glyphosate is banned. Now that health concerns have been raised after glyphosate was declared a ‘probable carcinogen’ last year, more research will look at the safety of glyphosate. As has been the case with recent scientific findings, more evidence is likely to emerge of glyphosate’s dangers, adding to the likelihood it will not be around for much longer,” he added.

“The arguments about glyphosate have shone a harsh light on the secrecy surrounding pesticide regulation, from the three top-secret studies by pesticide companies, which the regulators have used to claim it is safe (but which they refuse to the public), to the scientists who insist their identities must remain secret as they take decisions on pesticides that affect the lives of millions of people.”