Campaigners file formal complaint against EU over glyphosate

By Kizzi Nkwocha

- Last updated on GMT

A German environmental group said it had evidence that at least fourteen different beers sold in the country contained traces of glyphosate. Copyright iStock / Sauletas
A German environmental group said it had evidence that at least fourteen different beers sold in the country contained traces of glyphosate. Copyright iStock / Sauletas

Related tags: World health organisation, European union

Six environmentalist groups have filed a formal complaint against EU regulators for denying the link between the controversial herbicide glyphosate and cancer.

The complaint filed in Berlin accuses regulators of “serious violations of the statutory regulations and scientific standards which were used to deny the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.”

Although recognized as being the world’s most widely used weed killer, reports have surfaced of traces of glyphosate being found in food and drinks.

The campaign groups involved in the complaint are Global 2000, PAN Europe, PAN UK, Generations Futures, Nature et Progrès Belgique and Wemove.EU.

Serious violations

In a statement, the groups said: Glyphosate-based products are the world's most widely used weed-killers, used not only in the production of our food but also in public areas such as public gardens, parks and cemeteries.”

Campaigners say their complaint “brings to the surface some serious violations of the statutory regulations and scientific standards which were used to deny the carcinogenicity of glyphosate, and requests the relevant state attorneys to investigate further.”

Last year the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organisation, classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

But in Europe, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment  (BfR),  acting on behalf of the European  Commission and the European Food  Safety Authority  (EFSA),  proposed  to  classify glyphosate  as  “non-carcinogenic.”  

Foregone conclusion

Angeliki  Lysimachou  of  Pesticide  Action Network Europe, said: “When we looked into how the BfR and EFSA on one side and the experts of the World Health Organisation  on  the  other  could  reach  opposite  conclusions  after  revising  the  same  animal studies,  we  were  stunned  by  what  we  found.”

On Monday (March 7th​) the EU’s Standing Committee on Plant Animal Food and Feed will re-evaluate the authorization of glyphosate for another 15 years. 

Worried campaigners believe the approval is a foregone conclusion.

Lysimachou told reporters:  “The flaws in the glyphosate risk assessment are unacceptable, unlawful, and dangerous. Thus we urge European member states to reject the re-approval of glyphosate on 7th March and take a stand to protect human health and the environment.”

In Germany a Munich environmental group said it had evidence that at least fourteen different beers sold in the country contained traces of glyphosate.

The Munich Environmental Institute said the highest glyphosate level in one beer sort was almost 30 micrograms pro liter.

In the US the Food and Drug Administration said it would begin testing for residues of glyphosate on foods for the first time this year.

The FDA says it didn’t test food for glyphosate in the past because the “available methods”​ would have been “very cost- and labor-intensive to implement.”

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2 comments

Glyphosate

Posted by Stella H Howell,

Levels of concentration and effect on the human body varies in each human dependent on a multitude of factors.
It is imperative to ban Glyphosate.

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too much beer!

Posted by Dieter E,

The concentration of glyphosate in German beer was too low to cause any effect. In order to observe any minimal effect, the consumer would have to drink 1000 liter per day! The amount of alcohol ingested would be very toxic; and even the amount of water would kill the person.

NOTE: "dosis sola facit venenum" (Paracelsus)

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