GM Free Cymru

Glyphosate: EFSA shuts off key evidence from independent scrutiny

Date Added to website 19th August 2015


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Glyphosate: EFSA shuts off key evidence from independent scrutiny
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EFSA doesn't do itself any favours, does it? That beleaguered organization is apparently no longer remotely concerned about the interests of its stakeholders (ie you and me) and has awarded itself divine status in the matter of assessing the safety (or otherwise) of glyphosate. It is now caught up to such a degree in its own hubris that it believes that it has nothing to learn from anybody about glyphosate toxicity, apart from what it already has on file from the Glyphosate Task Force, the German Assessment body (German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment or BfR) and Monsanto and the other glyphosate producers. So it is perfectly OK for the glyphosate industry to see all the evidence on the table, and even OK for Monsanto to rush out a stitched-up article from some tame scientists claiming that glyphosate is harmless (Greim et al, 2015), but most certainly NOT all right for any other experts to see the evidence because Monsanto thinks it could compromise its commercial interests. It is almost beyond belief that EFSA should go along with that nonsensical Monsanto claim, and equally extraordinary that the EC should have acceded to the wishes of both Monsanto and EFSA by refusing to allow the Testbiotech experts access to the latest "evidence" on the table. This is all going to lead to big trouble..........

For other coverage of this issue:
18 August 2015
http://www.gmwatch.org/news/latest-news/16350-eu-commission-declares-report-on-glyphosate-risk-assessment-a-secret-but-monsanto-had-access
http://sustainablepulse.com/2015/08/18/eu-commission-declares-report-on-glyphosate-risk-assessment-a-secret/#.VdRMM853bJk

Monsanto reviewed advance draft, then quickly published paper claiming that glyphosate would not be carcinogenic

EXCERPT: “According to the Commission, giving industry access to the report does not undermine the process of risk assessment of glyphosate, whilst giving independent experts access to the data apparently does,” says Christoph Then for Testbiotech.
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EU Commission declares report on glyphosate risk assessment a secret… but Monsanto had access
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Testbiotech, 18 Aug 2015
https://www.testbiotech.org/en/node/1326

The EU Commission is refusing to let independent experts have access to the report prepared by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) on the risk assessment of glyphosate. In a letter to Testbiotech dated 10 August 2015, the Commission says that the documents made available to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) by the German government “are protected in their entirety” as confidential. The EU Commission can see “no overriding public interest” that would justify access. There is, however, clearly public interest in the matter since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World health Organisation (WHO) has already declared that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic to humans. However, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), is claiming there would be no risk to human health.

As stated in the letter from the EU Commission, “disclosure of these documents at this stage of the process will be premature and would seriously undermine EFSA´s on-going decision-making process”. Nevertheless, it appears that Monsanto and other producers of glyphosate have already had access since they reviewed an advanced draft of the report, dated January 2015. Soon afterwards, industry quickly published a scientific paper claiming that glyphosate would not be carcinogenic. This was then promptly picked up by the German authority for the final version of its report.

“According to the Commission, giving industry access to the report does not undermine the process of risk assessment of glyphosate, whilst giving independent experts access to the data apparently does,” says Christoph Then for Testbiotech. “Glyphosate is present in many food products, it is the most widely used herbicide in the world. If it is carcinogenic it could impact consumers’ health substantially. Therefore, from the perspective of public interest, there is no doubt that transparency in risk assessment must be given a high priority.”

Despite a court ruling made by the European Court of Justice in 2013 (Case T‑545/11), which said that data relevant for the risk assessment of herbicides have to be made public, there is still no sign that the EU Commission and EU Member States are complying with this process to create more transparency.

Contact: Christoph Then, Tel.: + 49 151 54638040, info@testbiotech.org
The letter from the Commission: www.testbiotech.org/node/1324
The publication involving Monsanto (Greim et al., 2015): http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10408444.2014.1003423
The report from IARC: http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol112/index.php
New publication about health risks of glyphosate: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027869151530034X\