Glyphosate – Green MEPs granted limited access to controversial studies

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has today written to a group of Greens/EFA MEPs, confirming that they will be granted limited access to the controversial studies used in their assessment of the safety of herbicide glyphosate. The decision comes after the MEPs (Heidi Hautala, Benedek Javor, Michele Rivasi and Bart Staes) made a request to EFSA for the documents to be made public.

The studies form the basis of EFSA’s assessment that glyphosate is “probably not carcinogenic”, a position that directly contradicts the assessment of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). At present, the studies are only accessible to certain MEPs, and only through a secure “reading room” set up by industry. The documents which will be supplied to the MEPs will be redacted and it will take another two months for any of the information to be sent to them.

Commenting on the news, Green transparency spokesperson Benedek Javor said:

“We will always welcome any effort to move forward on transparency, and this is clearly a positive development. However, until we have access to the documents and are able to submit them to independent expert analysis, it will be too soon to assess just how progressive this offer is.”

Green legal affairs and transparency spokesperson Heidi Hautala added:

“We will now finally have the opportunity to submit this data to independent scientific scrutiny, but what we really want is for the studies to be made fully public. Science rests upon the ability of data and conclusions to be challenged. The on-going controversy around glyphosate, and the continued struggle and delays in getting access to crucial evidence, show just how badly in need of reform the current assessment system is.”

The decision comes in the wake of continual pressure from Greens/EFA MEPs, including a recent action outside the secure reading room set up by industry – see video: