EU health chief: Some politicians spoke too ‘loudly’ against glyphosate before elections

Some politicians spoke “loudly” against glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weedkiller, before their elections but came back to reality later on, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis told EURACTIV.com in an interview.

Some politicians spoke loudly before the election proposing to immediately ban glyphosate, but after the election, they were “welcomed to reality”, Andriukaitis said.

Referring to the European Commission’s approach on glyphosate and neonicotinoids, he said it was a “crystal clear example of the Commission’s consistency” when it comes to science.

“The Commission will follow the scientific evidence and legal obligations and I have the same proposal for the member states.”

The EU Commissioner explained that people are very sensitive about food and the attention on EFSA’s assessments is very high.

“We know we have a lot of problems regarding the assessments on pesticides ranging from environmental and health issues to food safety […] we need to improve EFSA’s scientific capacities, transparency and independence and of course, guarantee access to data.”

He noted that the scientific data, once submitted, should be immediately available and open on the website, in order for people to download. “We need more public involvement.”

He emphasised, though, that there must be a sound legal approach as regards confidentiality.

“It must be legally sound and must be assessed also by EFSA. Nowadays, you have no chance to verify whether some documents are justifiably covered under the so-called commercial clause.”

“Now, with our new proposals, EFSA can be asked to assess and verify the justification of the commercial clause. And then, of course, there are strict criteria on the list: what does it mean, confidential clause?”

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