Fear of ‘mighty multinationals’ could spur European glyphosate bans despite evidence, EU food safety official says

The world’s most used herbicide is now more of a political football than a weedkiller.

Bernhard Url, the head of Europe’s food safety watchdog, still sticks by his agency’s assessment that glyphosate is safe, but argues that there is little he can do to hold back political tides that now threaten to ban it.

France, Germany and Austria are all taking steps to phase out the pesticide in the coming years, and Url argued that the debate over glyphosate had been subsumed into broader fears about globalization and mighty multinationals.

“I think we have to respect with humbleness if national parliaments decide to ban glyphosate,” he told POLITICO in an interview. “They are elected to take these value judgments.”

Related article:  Viewpoint: $2 billion glyphosate-cancer damages highlight why science is 'no match' for a persuasive lawyer

Url is executive director of the Parma-based European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which played a decisive role in the arguments over the safety of glyphosate by declaring in 2015 that it “is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard.”

In the meantime, Url conceded he thought the weedkiller had become a proxy for other fears. “I think that …. in conjunction with discussing the [Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership], global trade, multinational companies like Monsanto, food has become a surrogate for a much bigger question.”

Read full, original article: EU food safety boss says glyphosate is swept up in political tides (Behind paywall)

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend