The glyphosate saga continued this week as a group of 30 MEPs wrote to the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, to ask him to oppose the re-authorisation of glyphosate and offer support to farmers for a ‘rapid transition’ towards glyphosate-free agriculture.
The MEPs questioned the impartiality of the European Chemical Agency’s (ECHA) ruling on glyphosate’s safety, alleging one of the studies it relied on to reach its conclusion was ghost-written by the product manufacturer, Monsanto – a claim which was strongly denied by the company.
They have also called for a ‘blacklist’ of companies which ‘use lies as a common policy’ to be drawn up, demanded Monsanto be sued if evidence is found which shows studies were ‘deliberately falsified’ and said undisclosed meetings between Commission and ECHA officials and Monsanto lobbyists should be banned.
MEP for South West England Molly Scott Cato, who co-signed the letter, said: “Our approvals system’s reliance on data supplied by the very companies we should be regulating is a fundamental weakness.
“Given indications studies were ghost-written by agri-business, we are calling on both the ECHA and the European Food Safety Authority to review those studies submitted by the industry-led Glyphosate Task Force, a body on which Monsanto is represented.
“The European Commission should not propose any new approval of glyphosate until this is done.”
Crop Protection Agency chief executive Sarah Mukherjee said it was ‘disappointing’ to see MEPs continuing to politicise the discussion.
In a statement, Monsanto said the claim a study on glyphosate’s safety was ghost written by the company’s scientists had arisen because activists had taken one e-mail in 10 million pages of documents out of context.
“This accusation is false, and all parties involved have affirmed there is no evidence the paper was ghost written”, the statement read.
A European Commission spokesman told Farmers Guardian President Juncker would reply to the MEPs’ letter in due course.
The news came as a European petition set up in January to ban glyphosate reached almost 630,000 signatures.
If a million people from at least seven member states sign within a year, the Commission will be forced to respond.