NFU vice president Guy Smith has ridiculed a Green MEP for taking a urine sample into the European Parliament to show it contained glyphosate.
Mr Smith hit out at the extraordinary lobbying tactic in a debate on whether pre-harvest use of glyphosate should be banned at Cereals 2017.
He said: “Molly Cato, South West MEP, went into the European Parliament when they debated glyphosate last year with a sample of her urine, because she wanted to make the point that it had 5 parts per billion of glyphosate in it.
“My point to Molly, is at that level of concentration, she would have to pee 80,000 gallons on a single thistle to kill it, so let’s keep it in perspective.
“It would also have 80 times more arsenic – a known toxin – in it. Why is she not more worried about that?”
Whipping up fear
During the lively debate, Mr Smith went on to accuse the anti-pesticide lobby of ‘whipping up fear’ around glyphosate with ‘unscientific arguments’.
But Nick Mole, policy officer at the Pesticide Action Network, suggested the NFU and Defra must now support farmers to find an alternative to pre-harvest use of glyphosate because it will be banned.
“Glyphosate is likely to have upcoming restrictions placed on it”, he said.
“I think one of those restrictions will be a ban on the use of pre-harvest desiccation. Whatever you think, right or wrong, that is the reality. We are not going to change that.
“It is incumbent on us, if farmers want to adapt, that we start looking at how we change now. We need to start looking at alternatives because that is going to be the reality in a few years, whether you like it or not.”