Glyphosate: free to go again

On the 6th of July, the EFSA released the very long-awaited conclusion on the safety of glyphosate in the context of the renewal of its use as herbicide (pesticide). They conclude <<The assessment of the impact of glyphosate on the health of humans, animals and the environment did not identify critical areas of concern>>. Uncertainties have been underlined (data gaps) which leads to impossibility of carrying out a risk assessment. The latter are related to the assessment of one of the impurities in glyphosate, the consumer dietary risk assessment, and the assessment of risks to aquatic plants.

The entire opinion has been sent to the European Commission but not published, yet. EFSA is legally required to ensure all content complies with rules on personal data protection and confidentiality before publishing. As soon as this process is complete, EFSA will publish its conclusions (expected by late July) and all background documents (expected by late October) related to the peer review and risk assessment in full on its website.

In the late 2022 the ECHA shared its opinion on the issue, concluding that no concerns were to be raised by Glyphosate within its intended use in the Europen Union.

With the EFSA favourable opinion, the European Commission will have to amend the renewal of glyphosate as active substance for PPP (Plant Protection Product).


The timeline of Glyphosate

In 2019, the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG) formally applied to renew the approval of glyphosate for use after the current approval expires at the end of 2022.

Four EU Member States – France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden – formed the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG). They assessed the application and submitted their reports to ECHA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

In parallel with EFSA’s assessment, ECHA’s Committee for Risk Assessment, (RAC), reviewed the classification of glyphosate. RAC is mandated to review only the hazardous properties of the substance, and not the likelihood of exposure to glyphosate.

RAC’s assessment started in 2021. A consultation on the classification proposal was launched in September 2021. RAC’s final opinion was published in July 2022 and it will feed into EFSA’s risk assessment.

EFSA has released a FactSheet on Glyphosate available here chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/