European Commission must take action in response to Monsanto Papers
The European Parliament will today hold a debate on glyphosate in response to the Monsanto Papers (see background). The debate will include the European Commission’s response to an oral question from a cross-party group of MEPs. Commenting ahead of the debate, Greens/EFA food safety spokesperson Bart Staes, who co-sponsored the question, says:
“The European Commission must commit to a thorough investigation into these revelations and to improving practices where weaknesses are found. With so many unanswered questions, and an ongoing scientific debate regarding the safety of glyphosate, the European public has a right to know if Monsanto had any undue influence on the outcomes of the EFSA and ECHA assessments.
"These papers have implications that go well beyond glyphosate. There is a wider issue of the lack of transparency in the EU's assessment of active substances. Assessment of potentially harmful substances by EU agencies must be based on fully independent and public studies so that they are open to proper scrutiny. Not only would this improve the robustness of the assessment, it would also help increase public trust in the important work these agencies do."
The Monsanto Papers are a series of documents released in the context of litigation in the US brought by plaintiffs who claim to have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a result of exposure to glyphosate. The correspondence showed that at least one Monsanto-sponsored comprehensive review of studies on genotoxicity was included in the evidence used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in their evaluation of the safety of glyphosate. The approval of glyphosate is due to expire on 31 December 2017.
In March, a cross-party group of MEPs led by the Greens/EFA wrote to President Juncker expressing concern about the Monsanto Papers: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/press/european-commission-must-put-citizens-health-first/
Four Greens/EFA MEPs have launched a case at the European Court of Justice to gain access to documents used in EFSA’s assessment of glyphosate: https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/news/greens-efa-go-to-court-over-lack-of-transparency-on-glyphosate/