MEPs urge EU not to Reauthorize Glyphosate

24.03.2016 -

Expressing serious concerns about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the herbicide active ingredient glyphosate, the European Parliament’s Environment (ENVI) committee has passed a resolution urging the EU Commission not to renew its authorization for another 15 years without restriction.

Instead, in a non-binding resolution passed by a margin of 38 to 6, with 18 abstentions, the MEPs said the Commission should order an independent review and disclose all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) used to assess glyphosate.

The EU Food and Veterinary Office should also be mandated to test and monitor glyphosate residues in foods and drinks, the committee added.

“Uncertainty must be avoided before proceeding with the approval of a substance that is so broadly used,” said MEP Pavel Poc, who drafted the motion for a resolution. “That is how precautionary principle should be applied.”

In early March, national experts sitting in the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed again postponed a decision on whether to extend the approval for glyphosate. By mid-May, however, they must vote to adopt or reject the Commission’s proposal to extend the authorization.

If a qualified majority cannot be reached, it will be up to the European Commission to decide, as it did in the case of neonicotinoids.

The Commission’s extension plan is based on an assessment by EFSA that glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. This is in direct contrast to the conclusion of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) within the World Health Organization (WHO) that the chemical is a human carcinogen.

ENVI has called on the EU executive to introduce a new draft for the use of the herbicide ingredient. “The fact that we have to resort to a parliamentary objection shows that something has gone wrong in the decision process,” said Poc.

The Environment committee’s resolution will be put to a vote at the EP’s April plenary session in Strasbourg on Apr. 11-14.

MEPs Aim to Limit Antibiotics in Farming

The Parliament is also urging restrictions on the use of existing antimicrobial drugs to fight the growing problem of bacteria and is pushing for new, more effective, formulations to be developed.

In a vote on draft plans to update an EU law on veterinary medicines, MEPs advocated banning collective and preventive antibiotic treatment of animals, and back measures to stimulate research into new medicines.

“With the World Health Organization warning us that the world risks drifting into a post-antibiotic era, in which antibiotic resistance would cause more deaths each year than cancer, it is high time we took energetic measures and grasped the problem at its roots,” said rapporteur Françoise Grossetête.

To encourage research into new antimicrobials, the Parliamentarians advocate incentives that include longer periods of protection for technical documentation on new medicines, commercial protection of innovative active substances and protection for significant investments in data generated to improve an existing antimicrobial product or to keep it on the market.

Also, they want to prohibit the purely preventive use of antibiotics, restrict collective treatment to very specific cases, ban the veterinary use of antibiotics that are critically important for human medicine and end to online sales of antibiotics, vaccines and psychotropic substances.