Possible Europe-wide withdrawal of glyphosate herbicide formulations by Member States

The danger that European growers would not have soon at their disposal many and widely used herbicides containing the active ingredient glyphosate is now visible. This emerged earlier this week when the Commission, following the procedures laid down by European legislation, presented its proposal for renewal of the approval of glyphosate (ending June 30). Representatives of certain Member States opposed to the European Commission’s proposal, despite the fact that there was a positive recommendation from the EFSA (European Authority for Food Safety) with the agreement of experts from all member countries. The matter was referred to the next meeting at which all Member States will express treir position.

It is about another case in the EU on critical technical issues that it is pursued a policy decision contrary to the suggestions of specific and prescribed rules. This has already been paid from European farmers by dramatically limiting the available authorized plant protection products and according to estimates by doubling of plant protection cost in recent years in Europe.

It might be worth clarifying that EFSA with the participation of experts from all Member States has thoroughly studied all the available data of the IARC’s (International Agency for Research on Cancer) report about the possible carcinogenic activity of glyphosate. EFSA concluded that the glyphosate active substance does not appear to have any of such action, but a number of adjuvants used in some of glyphosate formulations may have.

The proposal of the European Commission to reaprove glyphosate provides the creation of a list that includes the hazardous auxiliary substances and the control of the presence of any such substance before the adoption of the formulations
The European Commission’s proposal is only for the re-approval of the active substance glyphosate at European level. The Member States adopt the formulations containing this active substance and may approve or not formulations that might contain dangerous additives.

A ban on the use of glyphosate herbicides would have serious impact on the farmers. Each Member State should take into consideration this fact and be based on the opinion of scientific experts before setting out a withdrawal process of the active glyphosate substance because some additives are “probably” carcinogenic. In conclusion, decisions affecting farmers across Europe should not be treated as simple ones.

Dr. C.N. Giannopolitis
Agronomist specialised in weed
Editor of AgroTypos

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