Monsanto’s Round Up, which contains glyphosate as its main ingredient, was recently named a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO). This means it is going to have a hard time getting re-licensed in Europe. The Netherlands and Sweden recently joined France in an anti-glyphosate stance.
This is a perfectly timed rebellion against the world’s most popular herbicide, due to be re-licensed on March 8th by members of the EU responsible for allowing the chemical a European market.
Though Monsanto likes to diminish the findings of the WHO’s IARC cancer research arm, the company is now facing some intense public pressure across Europe. Nearly 1.5 billion people, an 8th of the global population, have petitioned the EU’s health commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, to ban the probably carcinogenic substance, and disallow its re-licensing.
The Dutch parliament has already voted against the renewal of glyphosate’s permit, and the Netherlands is delaying their decision. Marcel van Beusekom, a spokesman for the Netherlands agriculture ministry, said:
“If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal.”
The move by Sweden and the Netherlands follows the announcement on Friday by French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal that France plans to vote against the EU re-licensing of glyphosate.
France has also called the recent safety assessment conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), stating that important scientific data was left out of the report.
The Swedish environment minister, Åsa Romson, said:
“We won’t take risks with glyphosate and we don’t think that the analysis done so far is good enough. We will propose that no decision is taken until further analysis has been done and the EFSA scientists have been more transparent about their considerations.”
Romson added that people want to feel safe about their food, and they aren’t comfortable with glyphosate.
Now that the Netherlands and Sweden have joined France in a strong stance against the use of glyphosate in the EU, other countries who might have wanted to refuse Monsanto’s stronghold can join them. Monsanto has been fighting hard to keep Round Up on shelves, since it constitutes a large portion of their overall global sales.
Andriukaitis also confirmed that member states would discuss the regulation of glyphosate in the days to come, pointing out this big change to EU policy regarding pesticides:
“I commit to working with the member states to draw up a list of co-formulants in pesticides that could pose a health risk”.
The Biotech industry will be rocked to the core by this announcement. Be sure of it.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.