As debate rages in Europe of the future of the commonly used herbicide ‘glyphosate’, Agricultural Science Association President, Neil Keane has criticised the tone of the debate.

He said while it is absolutely right and proper that officials involved in the discussions around the renewal of the glyphosate license (key ingredient in the well-known Roundup product) exercise a high level of due diligence, it is disappointing that some member states have chosen to sideline the recommendation of the European Commission and the independent scientific opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

“The fact that a license renewal has become a political rather than scientific process is a huge cause for concern, as are calls for an independent review of the comprehensive independent review already undertaken by the EFSA.

“It is critically important that decisions of this nature are based on independent scientific opinion and risk analysis and, because of this, the Agricultural Science Association would urge all involved in the renewal of the glyphosate license to adopt a science-based approach,” he said.

Keane’s comments come as the European Parliament’s Environment Committee MEPs said that the European Commission should not renew glyphosate’s authorisation.

They have said that it should commission an independent review of the herbicide and disclose all the scientific evidence that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

MEPs believe that so long as serious concerns remain about the carcinogenicity and endocrine disruptive properties of the glyphosate, it should not be renewed.

The Committee passed a resolution saying that the Commission should not renew the approval of glyphosate on the EU market for another 15 years, until 2031, without any restrictions as proposed.