S&Ds on glyphosate: Commission must ensure public health and transparency fully protected

S&Ds on glyphosate: tractor spraying in a field

Ahead of an important debate today in the plenary on glyphosate – the world's most widely used herbicidal active substance – the S&D Group calls on the Commission to urgently take all steps necessary to guarantee the immediate protection of public health and transparency in evaluating scientific reviews and evidence.

The Socialists and Democrats reject any new approval of the substance in the EU until all scientific uncertainties related to hormone-disruption, genotoxicity and carcinogenity have been clarified. The S&Ds also demand that the precautionary principle be strictly applied.

Earlier this year, it was revealed in the United States that the classification for glyphosate was largely based on unpublished scientific evidence provided by the industry or supposedly independent scientific reviews sponsored by the industry.

S&D spokesperson on the environment Miriam Dalli MEP said:

“The carcinogenic and genotoxic properties of glyphosate are confirmed by certain studies but denied by others. It is however undeniable that there are serious doubts as to the substance’s safety. Until we have the certainty that glyphosate is safe for our citizens and the environment we cannot allow this substance to be freely sold on the EU market. People’s right to health and a healthy environment are at stake here. We thus call on the Commission to urgently take all measures necessary to guarantee the immediate protection of public health.

“The issue we are dealing with here is also about a lack of transparency, questionable scientific reliability and scientific independence. It is about losing public trust and about corporate giants overstepping their authority. Transparency matters. That is why we want the Commission to recommend to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that they critically revise the validity of the current studies and do not propose to renew the approval for glyphosate in the EU until the scientific uncertainties have been clarified.

“The Commission also needs to ensure there is an independent review of the classification of glyphosate in relation to hormone disruption, genotoxicity and carcinogenity. This is also an issue for our farmers and our agricultural sector. That is why we want the Commission to promote and support the agricultural sector in a rapid transition towards glyphosate-free agriculture and towards alternative sustainable and cost-efficient solutions for pest management.

“We are asking the Commission precise questions and we expect precise, detailed answers. People’s health and a safe environment should be our priority at all times.”

S&D spokesperson on agriculture Eric Andrieu MEP said:

“The oral question aims to require clarification from the Commission on the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate, the licensing process and transparency. The issue demands even greater attention in light of the latest revelations from the Monsanto papers, which have raised questions of fraud and corruption.

“It is time for the Commission to give serious consideration to scientific expertise and not only to the reports produced by European agencies, and to assume its political responsibilities in order to guarantee the protection of 500 million European consumers, starting with the farmers who are the first victims of this system.”

“Today’s debate on glyphosate is only a first step and the Commission will have to respond to all our questions and convince MEPs of its commitment to protecting public health and transparency. Following this debate, and an even more in-depth parliamentary hearing scheduled for the autumn, if the responses prove unsatisfactory the Socialists and Democrats will seriously consider the establishment of a Parliamentary committee of inquiry or a special committee to fully investigate this case. In the meantime, we demand that the precautionary principle be strictly applied in order to ensure better protection for the health of Europeans and to guarantee transparency and public access to scientific studies.”