Slow Food: EU Parliament’s call for partial restrictions of glyphosate is not enough

13 Apr 2016 | English


Today, April 13, the European Parliament voted in plenary on the objection to the Commission’s proposal to renew the approval of glyphosate, the active ingredient in many widely used herbicides.

In a non-binding resolution, the European Parliament called for a ban on all uses of glyphosate-based herbicides in private and public green areas, including public parks, playgrounds and gardens. Additionally, MEPs called for restrictions on use in agricultural fields immediately prior to the harvest period, and said a new glyphosate license should be limited to seven years instead of 15.

Ursula Hudson, President of Slow Food Germany, comments: “Slow Food regrets that the European Parliament has missed the opportunity for a clear political message to the Commission and its Member States. The EU should not make any final decision before the potential health and environmental impacts of glyphosate have been fully established, including its potential to cause cancer and affect the endocrine system. It is alarming that, while the effects of glyphosate use have not been cleared, its global use has increased dramatically, by a factor of 260, in the last 40 years. Decision-makers are further asked to consider that the industrial food system, with its excessive use of herbicides and pesticides, imposes negative environmental, social, and economic externalities and compromises other natural resources such as water and soil. We need a transition from EU policies and regulations that promote the current unsustainable industrial food system to a food policy that supports exemplary farming systems with no hidden costs for the environment or human health.”

Glyphosate is widely used in agriculture, forests, public areas and private gardens. The use of this substance is so extensive that it is now detected in food, drinks and in the human body (including babies and young children).

Widespread use of glyphosate has led to the emergence and spreading of glyphosate-resistant weeds, causing farmers to spray additional herbicides. It gradually weakens rather than protects crops by immobilizing soil nutrients, especially trace elements, and promoting the development of fungal pathogens, leading farmers to use additional pesticide products to deal with the resulting crop diseases.


In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report, which classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. New evidence has documented the widespread presence of glyphosate in our food and our bodies following years of application.

In November 2015, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) – on the basis of reports prepared by the industry – arrived at the opposite conclusion. It stated that glyphosate poses “no carcinogenic hazard for humans” or any other health hazard, paving the way for renewal when the current authorization expires this June.

On March 8, the EU’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed postponed a decision when Italy joined France, the Netherlands and Sweden in opposing a new 15-year license for glyphosate. The Standing Committee is set to vote in May.

Slow Food signed the petition Stop Glyphosate promoted by We Move and is taking different actions at European and national level to raise awareness on the risks of glyphosate, in collaboration with European public health and environmental NGOs.

To sign the petition on glyphosate:

For further information contact the Press Office of Slow Food International:

[email protected] – Twitter: @SlowFoodPress

Paola Nano, +39 329 8321285 [email protected]

Giulia Capaldi, [email protected]

Ester Clementino, [email protected]

Slow Food involves over a million of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food. This includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, experts and academics in over 160 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide (known as convivia), contributing through their membership fee, as well as the events and campaigns they organize; and over 2,500 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

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