Quantcast
Food

France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands Rebel Against Relicensing of Monsanto's Glyphosate

A number of European Union member countries are rebelling against the European Commission's plans to approve the relicensing of glyphosate.

The Guardian reported that experts from the EU’s 28 member states are scheduled to vote on relicensing glyphosate on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels, however the vote may be postponed due to reservations that several EU countries have over glyphosate's health risks.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling weedkiller Roundup, was classified by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a "possible carcinogen" last March, whereas the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) put out their own report in November, concluding that that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.”

France, The Netherlands, Sweden and Italy have raised concerns about the herbicide and have pushed against relicensing.

French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal urges for an outright ban on glyphosate herbicides across the EU, basing the decision over the IARC's findings.

Similarly, The Guardian quoted Swedish environment minister Åsa Romson saying, “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the EFSA scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”

"We are raising concerns because our citizens are raising concerns," Romson added. "They want to feel safe and secure with food and production in our society.”

The Netherlands also called for a postponement of the EU-wide decision with Marcel van Beusekom, a spokesman for the Netherlands agriculture ministry, commenting, “If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal.”

Commission officials told The Guardian that a vote would not go ahead if support for relicensing continued to erode.

“If we see that many states want to think it over or there is a growing [opposition], if there is not a qualified majority, I doubt that it will be put to a vote,” one official said. “The ball is in the member states’ court.”

Licensing for glyphosate ends in June and the European Commission is proposing to grant the herbicide a new 15-year lease.

This move by France and their EU partners is a major blow to Monsanto and other large pesticide companies "which rely on glyphosate-based herbicides for a large percentage of their global profits," Sustainable Pulse wrote.

Read page 1

Indeed, as EcoWatch reported last month, glyphosate is now the “most widely applied pesticide worldwide.” The paper, Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globally, revealed that since 1974, when Roundup was first commercially sold, more than 1.6 billion kilograms (or 3.5 billion pounds) of glyphosate has been used in the U.S., making up 19 percent of the 8.6 billion kilograms (or 18.9 billion pounds) of glyphosate used around the world.

The substance is so widely used that it is commonly found in British bread, German beer and the urine of people in 18 countries across Europe, The Guardian said, adding that the chemical is banned or restricted in large parts of Europe because of alleged links to health problems such as birth defects, kidney failure, celiac disease, colitis and autism.

The contradictory conclusions from THE IARC and EFSA regarding the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate spurred 96 prominent scientists from 25 countries to write a letter in strong opposition to the EFSA report.

In addition, nearly 1.5 million people petitioning the EU’s health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, for a ban on the substance, Sustainable Pulse reported.

According to The Guardian, "an EFSA panel based its recommendation that glyphosate was safe enough for a new lease of life on six industry-funded studies that have not been fully published."

This video from the Corporate Europe Observatory, a non-profit corporate lobbying research group, alleges that Big Food corporations and biotech companies, including Monsanto, might have intimate ties with EFSA:

Environmental group Greenpeace has spoken out against the potential relicensing of glyphosate in Europe.

“EU governments seem more concerned about maintaining today’s destructive agricultural practices than protecting the health of people and the environment," Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said in a statement. "For a long time, glyphosate was thought to be safe. Now more and more scientific evidence tells us that it's a serious threat to our health and the environment. Ignoring this evidence for another 15 years will cost us dearly. Europe needs an exit strategy from chemical pesticides and a move towards ecological farming."

Global food advocacy nonprofit Slow Food is also demanding European governments reject the re-approval of glyphosate.

“There’s no room for compromise,” Carlo Petrini, Slow Food International president, said in a statement. “We have to decide whether the future of food is to be in the hands of the chemical industry with its promises to feed the planet—which, judging from the hundreds of thousands of tons of glyphosate sold every year, is a guise for evident economic interests—or of a policy that has the health of consumers and environmental welfare at heart.”

Monsanto is facing slumping profits and a slew of lawsuits alleging that exposure to glyphosate causes cancer. The St. Louis-based biotech giant maintains the safety of their flagship product and the chemical, and has demanded the World Health Organization retract their report.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?

DARK Act Heads to Senate, Bill Would Block Mandatory GMO Labeling

No, GMO Labeling Won’t Increase Food Prices

Vandana Shiva: Make Monsanto Pay

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) is a beloved holiday favorite. PETA

8 Festive Vegan Drinks to Keep You Cozy This Winter

By Zachary Toliver

Looking for warm vegan holiday drinks to help you deal with the short days and cold weather? This time of year, we could all use a steamy cup of cheer during the holiday chaos. Have a festive, cozy winter with these delicious options. (Note that you must be 21 to enjoy some of the recipes.)

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Pexels

For a Happier, Healthier World, Live Modestly

By Marlene Cimons

Gibran Vita makes every effort to get rid of the dispensable. He lives in a small home and wears extra layers indoors to cut his heating bills. He eats and drinks in moderation. He spends his leisure time in "contemplation," volunteering or working on art projects. "I like to think more like a gatherer, that is, 'what do I have?' instead of 'what do I want?'" he said.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
An underwater marker in front of Cortada's studio helps predict how many feet of water needs to rise before the area becomes submerged. Xavier Cortada

As Miami Battles Sea-Level Rise, This Artist Makes Waves With His 'Underwater Homeowners Association'

By Patrick Rogers

Miami artist Xavier Cortada lives in a house that stands at six feet above sea level. The Episcopal church down the road is 11 feet above the waterline, and the home of his neighbor, a dentist, has an elevation of 13 feet. If what climate scientists predict about rising sea levels comes true, the Atlantic Ocean could rise two to three feet by the time Cortada pays off his 30-year mortgage. As the polar ice caps melt, the sea is inching ever closer to the land he hopes one day to pass on to the next generation, in the city he has called home since the age of three.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
GMVozd / E+ / Getty Images

How to Ferment Vegetables in Three Easy Steps

By Brian Barth

A mason jar packed with cultured or fermented vegetables at your local urban provisions shop will likely set you back $10 to $15. Given that the time and materials involved are no more than five minutes and $2, respectively, one imagines that the makers of cultured vegetables have spent eight years training with fermentation masters in some stone-age village, or that they've mortgaged their house to pay for high-end fermenting equipment to ensure that the dilly beans come out tasting properly pickled.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Orangutan in Sumatra. Tbachner / Wikimedia Commons

Norway to Ban Deforestation-Linked Palm Oil Biofuels in Historic Vote

The Norwegian parliament voted this week to make Norway the world's first country to bar its biofuel industry from importing deforestation-linked palm oil starting in 2020, The Independent reported.

Environmentalists celebrated the move as a victory for rainforests, the climate and endangered species such as orangutans that have lost their habitats due to palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia. It also sets a major precedent for other nations.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Steve Parish/ Lock the Gate Alliance / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientists Discover 'Most Diverse Coral Site' on Great Barrier Reef

Australian scientists have found the "most diverse coral site" on the Great Barrier Reef, observing at least 195 different species of corals in space no longer than 500 meters, The Guardian reported.

The non-profit organization Great Barrier Reef Legacy and marine scientist Charlie Veron, a world expert on coral reefs, confirmed the diversity of the site, also known as the "Legacy Super Site" on the outer reef.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Renewable Energy
Buses head out at the Denver Public Schools Hilltop Terminal Nov. 10, 2017. Andy Cross / The Denver Post via Getty Images

Why Aren't School Buses Electric? These Coloradans Are Sick of Diesel

By Corey Binns

Before her two kids returned to school at the end of last summer, Lorena Osorio stood before the Westminster, Colorado, school board and gave heartfelt testimony about raising her asthmatic son, now a student at the local high school. "My son was only three years old when he first suffered from asthma," she said. Like most kids, he rode a diesel school bus. Some afternoons he arrived home struggling to breathe.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
jessicahyde / iStock / Getty Images

Hemp May Soon Be Federally Legal, But Many Will Be Barred From Growing It

By Dan Nosowitz

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has, perhaps unexpectedly to those who find themselves agreeing with only this one position of his, been a major force for legalizing industrial hemp. Industrial hemp differs from marijuana in that it's bred specifically to have extremely low concentrations of THC, the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana; smoke industrial hemp all you want, it'll just give you sore lungs.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!