The UK Government has slapped down a request for new regulatory action on Roundup – the weed killer containing glyphosate – following the publication of a new study which claimed to show a link between the chemical and liver disease.
Scientists have already said the findings could be compromised because they relied on samples from another study which was widely criticised for its methods, and Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, suggested the researchers had a ‘history of using bad science’ to link its products to health issues - a claim which has been strongly rejected by the study’s communicating author, Dr Michael Antoniou.
In response to a written question requesting an independent review into glyphosate-based herbicides, Defra Minister Lord Kimble said: “The paper by Mesnage et al reports some further analysis on samples collected in a study reported in an earlier paper.
“Regulatory studies (which are carried out both for active substances such as glyphosate and for products such as Roundup) investigate effects on the liver and any such effects are taken into account when acceptable human exposure levels are determined. There are a number of these regulatory studies which have tested larger number of animals at much higher doses than the Mesnage et al paper and have found no adverse effects.
“The Government does not therefore consider that the paper requires any regulatory action in respect of Roundup products. The European Food Safety Authority has reviewed the scientific data as part of the ongoing EU review of the approval of glyphosate and concluded that glyphosate meets all of the relevant safety standards. UK regulatory experts agree.
“The EU is due to decide on the approval of glyphosate later this year. If approval is given, Member States will review glyphosate products to ensure that they meet modern standards.”