Farm Ireland

Monday 22 January 2018

Parliament to debate glyphosate licensing

Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that contains glyphosate for sale in France. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller that contains glyphosate for sale in France. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Sarah Collins

MEPs are today debating the merits of reauthorising weedkiller glyphosate for use in the EU, a move that is set to further politicise the ongoing row over the chemical.

The European Commission has suggested a new 10-year licence for glyphosate, which

has been in use since the 1970s and is marketed by agrochemical giant Monsanto as RoundUp.


Two years ago the scientific community was thrown into disarray when a World Health Organisation body said glyphosate “probably” causes cancer in humans.

The EU’s food safety and chemicals agencies have said there is not enough evidence to support the claim.

Socialist MEPs say recent revelations in the US “cast doubt on the credibility of the studies” used by EU agencies to assess glyphosate’s safety.

Green MEPs have appealed to the EU’s highest court for public access to the studies used by EU agencies.

Also Read


Banning the common weedkiller chemical glyphosate could have a damaging effect on the UK economy and farming, a report has warned.

If the pesticide ingredient was not available to farmers it could result in smaller crop yields and increased agriculture costs, according to research.

A decision on whether to re-licence glyphosate, a chief ingredient in popular product Roundup, will be taken by the European Commission by the end of the year.

Health concerns have previously been raised about the chemical, although the EU's European Chemicals Agency has said it did not meet the criteria to be classified as a carcinogen.

Greenpeace has called on the European Commission to ban it, saying it "has led to degradation of ecosystems".

But a report by Oxford Economics and The Andersons Centre, in partnership with the Crop Protection Association, suggested a ban could see farming output fall in value by millions of pounds.

The report said: "A ban on glyphosate use is projected to lead to falling yields and production within the UK's agricultural sector. Indeed, analysis conducted by the Andersons Centre indicates a ban could reduce the value of farm output by £940 million."

Online Editors

More in Tillage