European reassessment of glyphosate shows how broken EFSA is.

On November 12th, the European Food Safety Agency released its conclusion on the risk assessment and peer review of glyphosate. 

This risk assessment is internationally recognised as faulty and rife with conflicts of interest. The German Rapporteur (known as the Rapporteur Member State - RMS) compiled the RAR - Renewal Assessment Report for EFSA - solely used studies selected and supplied by the Glyphosate Task Force  - an industry coalition.

The WHO IARC recently advised glyphosate was a probable carcinogen and that there was strong evidence glyphosate and its formulations were genotoxic using published studies available in the scientific literature. IARC Monograph Vol 112-10.  PDF here

The EFSA reassessment excluded much published, peer reviewed scientific literature. including studies for genotoxicity. 'Deficiencies include neglect and wrong description of important scientific publications, lack of applying up-to-date statistical analyses to the data provided by industry and false statements about historical control data'. (toxicologist Dr Peter Clausing). Links to three papers follow:

  1. The 31 August 2015 Addendum to the Renewal Assessment Report on Glyphosate: A Critical Analysis. Dr. Peter Clausing, PAN Germany. Hamburg November 2015. 

  2. The Glyphosate Renewal Assessment Report: An Analysis of Gaps and Deficiencies.   Dr. Peter Clausing

  3. Testbiotech comment on the  German Renewal Assessment Report (RAR)  on the active ingredient glyphosate.  Andreas Bauer-Panskus, Testbiotech October 2014

PAN Europe call it an 'un-scientific opinion' - and PAN Europe’s Chemicals Officer Hans Muilerman noted "in case of doubt they (EFSA) give the advantage of the doubt to industry instead of giving priority to the protection of human health and the environment”. 

Europe has now increased the ADI from .3 to .5mg/kg - the daily level European citizens can 'safely' be exposed to for the rest of their lives - despite the WHO finding. This increase flies in the face of caution and safety, and a huge range of science that declares glyphosate unsafe at ultra low doses - at levels the population is exposed to. 

The increase the knowledge that daily sub-lethal doses of glyphosate are harmful. The European population cannot avoid this - glyphosate is applied on staple foods - it is not just used as a weed destroyer - it is sprayed on staple food and animal feed crops.

GMWatch stated 'EFSA says it considered more studies than the IARC, as if that made its report more authoritative. Yes, it did consider studies that IARC didn’t. But what EFSA omits to mention is that the extra studies were done by industry. That means they are not peer-reviewed or published and are kept secret from the public and scientists. IARC only took into consideration published studies – a policy that ensures transparency for the public and the scientific community'

PAN Germany noted in its Critical Analysis of the Addendum to the RAR released on 31 August: 'In case of glyphosate, five mouse studies and two rat studies have been identified that show a statistically significant increase in tumour incidences. In addition, mechanistic evidence exists as documented and analysed in the IARC monograph demonstrating the biological significance of these findings in relation to humans.   

The RMS therefore has an amount of evidence available that vastly exceeds the requirements of the applicable legislation. The RMS’s invalidation of this factual basis is based on an inappropriate application of the relevant OECD guidance and EU legislation. A revision of the assessment of the carcinogenic hazard posed by glyphosate appears unavoidable.

Government and regulatory sectors will face increasing scrutiny and criticism from a widening sector of the community that understands the tragedy that stands behind this lack of scientific rigour.  When risk assessment places at it's heart - science that has been carefully selected and provided by the chemical pesticide industry - risk assessment can ONLY be faulty and ridden with conflicts of interest.

This useless and unsafe reassessment by a faulty regulatory authority - perfectly captures why there is increasing consumer distrust in the conventional food system.