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EU fails to reach agreement on extending glyphosate use for 10 years

The EU's proposal to renew glyphosate for the next 10 years is being taken to the Appeal Committee after member states failed to reach an agreement.

The European Commission put forward its draft regulation to renew glyphosate approval for a further 10 years to the vote on 12-13 October.

A "qualified majority" of 15 member states, representing at least 65% of the EU's population, is required to pass or to block the proposal.

However, as expected by many, the required majority of votes to adopt or reject the proposal was not reached, causing concern among farming unions.

The proposal will now be submitted to the Appeal Committee, which is expected to meet and vote in early November.

Glyphosate, which is the world's most widely used herbicide, is currently approved for use in the bloc until 15 December 2023.

A row over possible risks to the environment and human health has prompted numerous investigations in the US and Europe, forcing delays to re-licensing decisions.

However, a recent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) study found that glyphosate was “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans”.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Chemicals Agency have also classified glyphosate as non-carcinogenic.

Responding to the EU's vote, NFU vice president David Exwood said the union had always lobbied for the regulation to be led by science and evidence.

He said: "In the EU, more than 11,000 pages of independent expert review of that evidence has concluded its safety and provides good reason for EU regulators to re-approve glyphosate.

“Glyphosate has long been one of those essential products to control weeds before planting and is vital due to the popularity of a regenerative, no-till or minimum till approach.

“Britain’s farmers and growers will continue to use glyphosate as long as it is safe and legal to do so to ensure environmental sustainability and a secure supply of high-quality affordable food."

NFU senior regulatory affairs adviser, Dr Chris Hartfield added: “Reviews of all the available and latest evidence by regulatory scientific experts in the EU and across the world have confirmed that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.

“Glyphosate reduces the need to use other herbicides, helps to protect soil and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for ploughing.

"It also enables European farmers to grow crops that help produce safe, affordable and high-quality food.”


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