You have no items in your shopping cart.

Subtotal: £0.00

Pending Glyphosate Roundup Ban

False news has been the buzz phrase of the last twelve months. To those of us in the agriculture industry, this has been no great surprise as we have been dealing with it for several years now. I am referring to, of course, the constant drip feed of propaganda by interest groups, some politicians and other NGOs regarding food safety and the contamination of certain chemical in our food. In particular, the major issue facing the industry at the moment is the potential ban by the EU on the use of glyphosate by the agriculture and horticultural industries.

The potential ban has come about mainly due to studies from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which, despite the perceived wisdom, does not assess the risk of glyphosate being linked with cancer. This contradicts those of its parent organisation the World health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) who both state that glyphosate is ‘unlikely to present a public health concern or carcinogenic risk to humans.

The fact that glyphosate is generally regarded as so unharmful it has been widely available to the general public without even a hazard label. Why the panic all of a sudden? To try and introduce a sweeping ban when it has been as easy to buy as bottled water is as irrational and bizarre as the sudden talk about banning diesel cars.

Also the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment of glyphosate in 2015 concluded that it is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans. However despite all these conclusions, the EFSA report has made several recommendations. These include redefining acceptable exposure limits. It is this conclusion that will be used to inform the European Commission in the approval process, its subsequent assessment of plant protection products by Member States and the revision of maximum residue levels in food by the EFSA.

EU legislation governing the regulation of pesticides states that the active substances must be assessed in terms of their safety for humans, animals and the environment at least once a decade. The review of the approval is necessary to take account of progress in science and technology since the last time it was reviewed. In November 2015 EFSA circulated its final report and proposed the re-approval of glyphosate.

Consequently a vote against the Commissions current proposal sets a dangerous and game changing precedent of ignoring the scientific advice of its own scientific advisory body. It will also further politicise the issue around plant protection products putting European agriculture at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued an opinion on the product in March this year saying that there was no scientific evidence to classify glyphosate either as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction. Consequently EU farm commissioner Phil Hogan has indicated that hopefully in the next few weeks glyphosate will be reauthorized for the ten tears. A spokesman from the commission has also pointed out that despite Mr Hogan’s claims, there is still no formal proposal on the table. This means we must take great care in continuing applying pressure to the relevant authorities until we get the final go ahead. Any renewal will not go unchallenged NGOs and many other green groups are still determined to derail the process. Indeed a Europe wide petition launched in January calling for a ban has already gained over 600,000 signatures.

If a ban was to be brought into effect across EU regions, would other regions of the World will continue to use glyphosate indefinitely, meaning that we would not be able to compete with efficiencies and economies of growing it in less regulated regions of the world.

This in my mind is just another scare similar to the salmonella in eggs scare of a few years back. The impact on the whole of the EU would be pretty catastrophic. Estimates say that it would cost the UK economy €630 million. Also it would mean that we would have to revert to some form of organic farming, which we all know is not going to feed the world’s population.

While many will think that this is the ‘green’ way forward, they could not be further from the truth. A a total ban on glyphosate will mean that min-till and no-till farming would be a thing of the past and farmers would have to resort to increased cultivations which would make the industry rely on more carbon burning fossil fuels.

The whole glyphosate scare is based on false news been perpetuated by NGOs in an attempt to meet their agenda. We would be setting a very dangerous precedent if any sort of ban is implemented.

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.