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.
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.”
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.”