NFU Scotland has welcomed the conclusions of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on the safety of the important herbicide, glyphosate.
The ECHA has concluded that the scientific evidence ‘did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction’.
The ECHA’s opinion on glyphosate’s safety builds on the views of other regulatory bodies around the world, including the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN and the European Food Safety Authority. The Union believes European regulators now have a mandate to allow the product to be re-authorised for a further 15-year period when they make that decision later this year.
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Today, a major step has been taken towards the re-approval of the herbicide glyphosate. Echoing the clean bill of health given by the WHO, the UN and EFSA, the ECHA has, having reviewed the evidence, decided that glyphosate meets several safety requirements.
“This scientific opinion – along with those already given – must be given precedence when the EU commission and member states decide on the re-authorisation of glyphosate later this year.
“Glyphosate is a key tool for farmers, allowing them to control weeds and use environmentally friendly techniques, such as minimum tillage, which reduce soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. Glyphosate is also used to dry ripening crops, thereby reducing the industry’s reliance on fossil fuels to do so.
“These invaluable farming and environmental benefits, coupled with its clean bill of health, endorse its re-authorisation for a further 15 years.
“It remains vital that the decision-makers in Europe are under no illusion about the importance of glyphosate to Scottish farmers and growers. As we build towards a decision on reauthorisation, NFUS encourages any farmer who uses this product, and wishes to continue to do so, to communicate directly with their MEP underlining the importance of this product to their farming operation.
“I firmly believe the continued safe and responsible use of glyphosate is in the farming, the environment and consumers’ best interests.”