Press Release 18.11.2022

Glyphosate just the tip of the iceberg: 30 percent of all pesticides are approved by extension without new risk assessment

foodwatch calls for full reform of authorisation practice

30 percent of all currently approved pesticides in the EU are approved by extension without a renewed, final risk assessment, as research by foodwatch shows. The European consumer organisation called for a full reform of the current EU authorisation practice. All pesticides whose approvals were extended without the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) having carried out a new risk assessment, should be immediately withdrawn, urged foodwatch. On Tuesday, the EU Commission announced to prolong the use of Glyphosate until December 2023, although the final EFSA opinion on the controversial pesticide is expected not before next year.

“Glyphosate is just the tip of the iceberg: One out of three currently approved pesticides in the EU are approved by way of extension – without a renewed and final risk assessment by EU authorities. That is absolutely irresponsible and unacceptable”, said Lars Neumeister from foodwatch International. “The EU-pesticide authorisation system has so many flaws that a reform is urgently needed.”

As foodwatch research shows, the authorisation for 135 of a total of 455 pesticides currently authorised in the EU has actually expired – and yet has been renewed again and again sometimes for years without EFSA finalising a new safety assessment. Among them are widely used pesticides, such as Flufenacet, an herbicide which metabolites contaminate the groundwater. Its authorisation had actually already expired in 2012. The approval for the neurotoxic Deltamethrin for example has been extended again and again since 2013 – even though the insecticide was labelled by the EU as a so-called “Candidate for Substitution”, meaning it should actually have a shorter approval period due to its particular hazardous effects. 

foodwatch called for higher authorisation fees paid by the pesticide manufacturers so that EU authorities can conduct the risk assessment on time. Current extension periods should be subtracted from the approval period, if a pesticide is re-approved. All pesticides not assessed by EFSA according to the risk assessment rules laid down in Reg. 1107/2009/EC should be immediately taken off the market, demanded the consumer organisation. Furthermore, the EU are to establish a coherent and effective pesticide exit strategy. The goal must be a pesticide-free EU agriculture by 2035, said foodwatch. In a recent report, foodwatch had presented a concrete crop-by-crop exit strategy for pesticides. 

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