EU votes to extend weed-killer glyphosate license for five years

Glyphosate kills weeds by blocking proteins essential to plant growth and has been used in commercial weedkilling products since the 1970s. Stock pic: REUTERS
Glyphosate kills weeds by blocking proteins essential to plant growth and has been used in commercial weedkilling products since the 1970s. Stock pic: REUTERS
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

EU countries today voted in favor of renewing for five years the license of weed-killer glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling Roundup.

The European Commission said in a statement that 18 countries had backed its proposal, with nine voting against and one abstaining.

Glyphosate has been used by farmers for more than 40 years but its use was cast in doubt when WHO’s cancer agency said in 2015 it probably causes cancer.

The European Chemical Agency said in March this year, however, there was no evidence linking it to cancer in humans.

The herbicide is an integral part of the modern farming practice in both tillage and grassland production.

Farmers have said it is a key arable crop management tool that allows farmers to produce an abundance of safe, affordable, quality food.

They say its judicious use allows us to adopt minimum tillage practices, thus preventing soil erosion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the sector.

IFA National Grain Chairman Liam Dunne said, “It is very clear that the glyphosate issue is being used as a political football by a small number of vested interest groups and some politicians to drive on their own agenda.

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"It is vitally important that any decision to approve or not approve plant protection products is based on the best scientific evidence available and not on a political whim, a repeat of what happened in 2007 and 2016.

 

Online Editors


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