Fears for the future of glyphosate as another EU vote fails

Another vote in Brussels on the future use of glyphosate in the EU has failed to reach a decision, with the product’s current licence set to run out in days.

The Appeal Committee Member States voted on the proposal of extending the current approval of glyphosate for a limited period of time, until the opinion on the substance is given by the European Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA).

This vote followed a previous one by Member States at the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed on 6 June.

There was no qualified majority in favour or against the proposal.

The Commission spokesperson said that it regrets that no decision could be taken by the Member States, in spite of its efforts over recent weeks to accommodate requests and concerns from a number of national governments, as well as from the European Parliament.

On Monday, June 27 Commissioner Andriukaitis will inform the College about the results of today’s Appeal Committee and discuss the next steps to be taken.

As it stands, Member States have until June 30 to decide whether or not to renew the chemical. Should they decide not to renew it, or a decision isn’t reached, then Member States will have to withdraw the authorisations for plant protection products containing glyphosate from their market.

Glyphosate, the main chemical ingredient in the Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, has hit the headlines over the past year regarding its carcinogenicity to humans.

Three reports on the chemical have had different conclusions; two reports said that it is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard while the other has said that it probably has the potential to cause cancer in humans.

In the latest report, an UN committee of FAO and WHO experts found that the chemical is unlikely to pose carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.

This following an European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) report in November of 2015 which also found that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.

Meanwhile, a contrasting report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in March last year, found that glyphosate probably has the potential to cause cancer in humans.