Transparency in EU policymaking: The case of glyphosate

In June 2019, the European Council passed a review of the “General Food Law regulation” that has its roots in the European Citizens’ Initiative on glyphosate. In future, scientific information supporting risk assessment in the food chain and communication on food safety will be more transparent and easier to access for citizens.

Under the new rules, studies and information supporting a request for a scientific output by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are to be made public automatically when an application by a food business operator is validated or found admissible. This followed an EU court ruling in March 2019 that EFSA should grant access to safety studies about glyphosate, the world’s most commonly-used herbicide.

Transparency is essential….particularly in cases that spark controversy in Europe. Some companies are now enabling access to their scientific data used by regulatory authorities to evaluate the safety of chemical substances such as glyphosate.

By sharing safety data, which was previously only shared with regulators, industry aims to connect the public with the scientific community in a way that builds trust and fosters an open, science-based dialogue about their products.

This EURACTIV Virtual Conference was organised to discuss which direction pesticides policies in the EU should take. Will it remain largely science-based or will it become increasingly politicised? The re-authorisation process of the active substance glyphosate will be watched carefully. Both the decision whether glyphosate will be re-authorised and the direction pesticides policies will take, largely depend on whether the process is perceived as transparent.

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