New committee to scrutinise conflicts of interest in glyphosate approval process
The European Parliament has set up a special committee to investigate the EU´s approval process for pesticides. Today´s vote came in response to the controversial decision by member states to authorise glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weed killer which is also linked to cancer, for another 5 years.
GUE/NGL MEPs Anja Hazekamp (Netherlands) and Kateřina Konečná (Czech Republic) will be full members of the committee, with Younous Omarjee (France) and Eleonora Forenza (Italy) as substitutes.
Hailed as a victory for transparency and greater accountability in the EU, the newly established committee will investigate potential conflict of interest in the pesticide approval procedure, the legality of Commission´s approach to glyphosate and potential failures in the use scientific evidence.
Internal documents revealed how Monsanto, the company that markets glyphosate, manipulated scientific evidence to hide public health concerns related to glyphosate. GUE/NGL MEPs have argued that this contributed to the flawed assessment on glyphosate risks by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
MEP Anja Hazekamp vowed to uncover the truth about EU pesticide authorisations:
"The WHO as well as several independent scientists have demonstrated the risks and dangers associated with glyphosate. This hazardous substance has not only been linked to causing cancer and to disrupting hormonal functions, it also severely pollutes our environment. The competent authorities and the European Commission have failed to take these risks seriously."
"It's about time that we uncover and tackle the system's failures. As a member of the special committee I will strive for truly independent and transparent methods regarding the authorisations of pesticides".
MEP Kateřina Konečná said that at the heart of this effort is the health of humans and animals alike:
“The establishment of this special committee is the result of our work for the past three years. We have raised concerns about the approval of glyphosate, notably whether an independent, objective and transparent assessment has taken place. This is an opportunity to get the answers that the Commission and industry have refused to give.”
“The Parliament has raised serious concerns about the application of the approval criteria and the non-application of the precautionary principle. We are concerned about possible conflict of interest at all levels in the approval process.”
“Our main goal will be the assessment of the authorisation process of pesticides in the EU, its methodology, scientific quality, and most importantly independence from the industry. We will be making recommendations to achieve a high level of protection for both human and animal health, and the environment,” Konečná concluded.