After two years of debates and countless inconclusive meetings between governments and the European Commission, on November 27 came an answer: the authorization for glyphosate would be renewed for another five years, as proposed by the European Commission and with the approval of a large majority of European governments.
It was not enough for the World Health Organization to declare that glyphosate was probably carcinogenic. It was not enough to show that the favorable studies published by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency were produced by copying and pasting from studies carried out by the same companies that produce glyphosate. It was not enough for the European Parliament to pass a motion asking for an absolute ban by 2022 and immediate restrictions on the use of the substance. And the 1,323,421 signatures from European citizens demanding a ban were not enough either.
But the story isn’t over, the battle not yet lost. Already many cities and regions are taking their own initiative over glyphosate, like Brighton and Bristol in the UK, which voted to reduce the use of the chemical, or Barcelona, Madrid and the other Spanish regions that have forbade its use in public spaces. Some supermarkets in Germany and Luxembourg have already removed the pesticide from their shelves.
The issue of glyphosate, like the issues of GMOs, the Common Agricultural Policy, food waste, soil and TTIP-CETA, has been a target of Slow Food’s Brussels office. Opened in 2014, the office currently has two staff members, who follow debates on European policies connected to food, collaborate with partner organizations and participate in dialogs between European institutions and civil society in order to make the voice of our international movement heard. The challenge of the coming months will be to further strengthen the Slow Food network in Europe, involving activists and experts and working to make the EU’s food policies better, cleaner and fairer.