The Netherlands and Sweden have joined France on Saturday in coming out strongly against the re-licensing of glyphosate-based herbicides in Europe. The remarkable rebellion against the World’s most used herbicide is likely to delay the expected March 8 EU vote by member countries on the re-licensing of the chemical.
Public pressure against glyphosate in countries across Europe has been intense, with nearly 1.5 million people petitioning the EU’s health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, for a ban on the substance, the Guardian reported.
After a Dutch parliament vote opposing the renewal of glyphosate’s permit, the Netherlands called for a postponement of the EU-wide decision. “If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal,” said Marcel van Beusekom, a spokesman for the Netherlands agriculture ministry.
The move by Sweden and the Netherlands follows the announcement on Friday by French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal that France will vote against the EU re-licensing of glyphosate.
Royal also added that France was not backing the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on their recent safety assessment of glyphosate and was instead basing their decision on the report of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015, which declared glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen.
The Swedish environment minister, Åsa Romson, said: “We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the EFSA scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”
Romson added: “We are raising concerns because our citizens are raising concerns. They want to feel safe and secure with food and production in our society.”
This move by France and their EU partners will hit the biotech giant Monsanto and other large pesticide companies which rely on glyphosate-based herbicides for a large percentage of their global profits. Glyphosate is now the most widely and heavily applied weed-killer in the history of chemical agriculture globally.
Andriukaitis meanwhile confirmed that member states would discuss the regulation of glyphosate in the days to come and also added, in a very important shift in EU policy; “I commit to working with the member states to draw up a list of co-formulants in pesticides that could pose a health risk”. This is another statement that will shake the Biotech industry to the core, as previously all regulators worldwide have completely ignored the possible health risks of co-formulants, otherwise known as adjuvants or non-active ingredients in pesticides.