Commission and Monsanto try to evade Parliamentary scrutiny on glyphosate
Today the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) held a joint public hearing on “the Monsanto papers and glyphosate”.
The hearing took place on the heels of a Parliament ban on Monsanto lobbyists after the refusal of the agrichemical corporation to attend the hearing and answer into allegations that it influenced studies about the safety of glyphosate used in its RoundUp weed killer.
Meanwhile the Commission is expected today to finally communicate to MEPs – through official channels – its proposal for a 10-year renewal of the chemical, which scientific studies have shown to cause cancer and birth defects, among other serious illnesses.
The Commission had published the proposal on its website last July but failed to submit it for Parliamentary scrutiny. The existing glyphosate license expires on the 15th of December 2017, giving the Parliament a limited period to scrutinise the proposal.
GUE/NGL MEP Lidia Senra criticised the Commission and Monsanto’s attempts to evade accountability:
“The Commission has once again placed itself at the side of Monsanto and has demonstrated that it is prepared to disregard the precautionary principle and to sacrifice the health of humans, animals and the environment to benefit Monsanto's business interests and GMOs.”
“Monsanto has a lot to hide. It is facing several suits from cancer patients and their families who accuse Monsanto of exposing them to glyphosate with knowledge of its effects on health. If Monsanto does not want to answer to MEPs it is only logical that they are not allowed to come along when it suits them.”
“The Parliament must use all the resources available to make its voice heard in the glyphosate approval process and to assert the rights of EU citizens,” the Galician MEP added.
In today’s hearing, Carey Gillam from the U.S. Right to Know said that Monsanto, fearing a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), tried every trick in the book to get glyphosate labelled safe, including ghost-writing so-called scientific studies and lobbying authorities to deny the known risks.
Based on this, GUE/NGL MEP Anja Hazekamp sought assurances from Dr Kate Guyton that her organisation – the IARC – will not give credence to biased industry-sponsored research on glyphosate, which largely diverge from its own.
Hazekamp said: “The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declared that there is no harm in accepting industry-sponsored research for the authorisation of glyphosate.”
“EFSA, the agency that should protect us, is putting human and animal health at risk only to please an industry which is poisoning us all. If the European Commission sticks to its decision to renew the authorisation of glyphosate, based on this kind of manipulated studies, it is putting millions of people, animals and our environment at risk.”
“The precautionary principle should be applied, glyphosate should be taken off the market. It is the duty of the European Parliament to take responsibility over and give a voice to the more than 1 million concerned EU citizens calling for a ban on glyphosate,” the Dutch MEP concluded.