Slow Food on glyphosate: the European Commission hits our biodiversity and health

29 Nov 2023 | English

The renewal of the use of glyphosate for the next 10 years, which was confirmed on 28 November, represents another shock for biodiversity after the rejection of the SUR on pesticides. By failing to obtain a qualified majority against the renewal, Member States refused to set a vision for an alternative way of farming and paved the way for its reauthorization by the European Commission.

“After a disappointing rejection of the proposal for a regulation on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides (SUR), the reauthorisation of glyphosate is another step backwards in achieving the EU Green Deal objectives, which included transforming our food systems to ensure the protection of our biodiversity, our health and that of future generations”, comments Marta Messa, Slow Food Secretary General. ”

“Reapproving the use of glyphosate, the Commission has disregarded many Member States’ and citizens’ concerns, and ignored strong evidence showing that phasing out glyphosate while guaranteeing yields and reducing costs for farms is possible by adopting agroecological practices,” comments Madeleine Coste, Slow Food Advocacy Director. “We have the solutions, citizens ask for them, but decision makers keep ignoring them in favor of the agri-business interests”. 

Member States continue to be responsible for national authorisation of pesticides containing glyphosate, and will thus be able to restrict their use at national and regional level, to protect the health of their farmers and citizens. However, a vision to transform EU food systems towards agroecology is urgently needed. 

The discussions on pesticides have been closely tied to those on the deregulation of new GMOs (“New Genomic Techniques”). The biotechnology industry indeed  promises that these would allow farmers to reduce the use of pesticides, despite a clear lack of evidence of this. In the next weeks, agriculture ministers will discuss the Commission’s deregulation proposal, which Slow Food believes presents serious risks for the planet, farmers, and consumers’ freedom of choice. We urge national decision makers to stand for the precautionary principle and ensure that safety assessment, traceability and labeling of new GMOs will be maintained. 

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