Chafer Machinery (CC BY 2.0)


Greens/EFA go to court over lack of transparency on glyphosate

It was over a year ago when our MEPs Bart Staes, Benedek Jávor, Heidi Hautala and Michèle Rivasi first sent the European Food and Safety Authority (EFSA) an official access to documents request, trying to access the studies on which EFSA based its assessment that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. EFSA claimed that the reason for the difference with the World Health Organisation's cancer agency (IARC) – which classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" – is that EFSA used unpublished studies that IARC did not look at. This is because, in contrast to EFSA, IARC's rules do not allow them to use unpublished studies for their assessments.

EFSA does not want to give us access to those studies, because they are owned by the companies that are trying to get their glyphosate products approved for use on the market. The Authority says that giving us the studies would harm the commercial interests of the companies. And they claim that scientific studies about glyphosate are NOT information about environmental emissions. Plus, they insist that there is no superior public interest that would warrant full publication of the studies, because there is enough information out there already to permit proper scrutiny.

Having worked with toxicologists and consulted with access to information experts, the Greens/EFA group disagrees with this assessment: we believe that all studies should be made public, according to the Aarhus Regulation, because they are precisely about environmental emissions – glyphosate itself is an emission! And there is clearly a high public interest in glyphosate in general. This is why we are now calling on the European Court of Justice to take a decision in this case, to shed some light on the balance that should be struck between the public right to information and the commercial interests of private companies.