After the missed agreement on glyphosate renewal on October 25 and the new proposal by the European Commission to reduce the period of the renewal from 10 to 5 years, Member States have voted today: no agreement was reached.
The European Commission has announced it will submit the same proposal to the Appeal Committee (a higher-level meeting of governments) on November 27. Our governments will once again have the chance to put a stop once and for all to this toxic substance.
Given this, Slow Food repeats its call for a ban of glyphosate. The Commission cannot continue ignoring the governments and the citizens they represent: in July 2017 governments announced their opposition to the 10 year renewal, and this was then confirmed on October 5-6. Today’s vote again indicates a strong reluctance on the part of governments to re-authorize glyphosate.
Ursula Hudson, President of Slow Food Germany, affirms: “We are talking about the future of agriculture, the future of what we eat and drink daily. As a European citizen, I am disappointed that our governments missed another chance to take a strong stand against glyphosate. Not putting a stop to glyphosate will affect our own health and the health of our beloved ones—if we don’t ban it, children will continue growing up exposed to this toxic chemical, not only in their food and water, but also in the environment in which they live and play. We need to put a stop to glyphosate, promote agroecological farmers and their practices, and help conventional farmers transition away from this herbicide”.
The European Parliament has confirmed that the organizers of the “Stop Glyphosate” European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) will have the opportunity to present the citizens’ initiative (which collected 1.070.865 signatures) at a public hearing, which will take place on November 20, 2017. The Commission shall set out in a Communication its legal and political conclusions on the citizens’ initiative, the action it intends to take, if any, and its reasons for taking or not taking that action within three months of the submission date, i.e. by 8 January 2018. As of today, however, no ECI has ever succeeded in its intent.
The decision comes following repeated failures to achieve qualified majority at the Standing Committee and again at the Appeal Committee on 24 June 2016, both Committees representing Member States. On June 29, 2016, the European Commission extended the approval of glyphosate until the decision of today.
Commercialized since 1974, in 2015 glyphosate was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans.’ Two months after hearing the IARC’s opinion, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) came to the opposite conclusion: in its view, in fact, glyphosate is ‘unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.’ However, the European food safety authority (Efsa) based its recommendation on an EU report that copied and pasted analyses from a Monsanto study, with pages of the study identical to passages in an application submitted by Monsanto on behalf of the Glyphosate Task Force (GTF), an industry body led by the company.