'No critical concern': EU ban on glyphosate under discussion again

Based on the results of a long-awaited assessment, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the controversial herbicide glyphosate does not pose a "critical concern". The European Commission must decide whether to extend the approval to use glyphosate beyond 15 December.

Authorisation for the use of the pesticide is under pressure. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in US company Monsanto's pesticide Roundup. Several lawsuits are pending against the company because the pesticide is potentially carcinogenic. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organisation classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic".

Long-term risk

Although EFSA notes that there is "a high long-term risk in mammals" for some of the uses of glyphosate, the institution does not raise "critical" concerns for humans, animals and the environment. A concern is defined as critical only when it affects all proposed uses of the substance under assessment.

In an open letter last month, environmental organisation Bond Beter Leefmilieu asked Belgian policymakers to vote against a renewal of glyphosate's licence and to more actively support farming with fewer pesticides. Agricultural organisations, however, oppose a complete ban because they say there is no viable alternative.




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