The farm lobby said approval should follow on from the November 2015 opinion of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which ruled that the substance was “unlikely” to be carcinogenic.
The EU executive is continuing to debate proposals to extend approval for use of glyphosate in the EU for the next 15 years, until 2031
And the European parliament is due to vote on the renewal of the approval of glyphosate during its plenary sessions in Strasbourg next week.
Copa and Cogeca secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen, told FeedNavigator: "European farmers hope that the active substance will remain in the market and we are pressing to keeping it. The reports from both the rapporteur member state, Germany, and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have shown that the active substance is not [one] of high concern for human and animal health or for the environment."
He said Copa and Cogeca have always supported science-based decision making and the role of EFSA as risk assessor in terms of the EU regulatory process: “Therefore, we consider that the EU Commission and the member states should proceed accordingly and renew the approval of glyphosate.”
Glyphosate provides three main benefits deriving from the single market, said Pesonen. "It is authorised in all member states; it has a wide range of uses adapted to different production conditions; and it is sold at a cost-effective price. At the moment, there is no single alternative fulfilling all these criteria,” he said.
Copa and Cogeca said not approving the active substance would, in fact, benefit third countries that export to the EU, as glyphosate would still be part of farmers’ toolbox in third countries. It said this would result in a clear competitive disadvantage for European agriculture.
In the EU glyphosate is an herbicide, mainly used to combat weeds. For cereals, and in other crops, glyphosate is used in pre-planting, after harvest and before sowing, and in pre-emergence, which is the period after sowing and before crop emergence.
Under some conditions and, if needed, glyphosate can also be used in pre-harvest, to clean the field and allow harvest of arable crops.
Other uses for glyphosate are for no-till and min-till or to combat alien invasive species.
In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, a classification that biotech giant and producer of the glyphosate based herbicide, RoundUp, Monsanto, said it strongly disagreed with.
And MEPs, last month, said the Commission should not reauthorize glyphosate as long as concerns remain about its carcinogenicity.
Instead, the EU risk manager should commission an independent review and disclose all the scientific evidence EFSA used to assess glyphosate, said members of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee.
The ENVI committee’s resolution against the renewal of EU authorization for the herbicide component was passed by 38 votes to 6, with 18 abstentions in March.
Those MEPs also called for the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to be given a mandate for the testing and monitoring of glyphosate residues in foods and beverages.
Meanwhile, in March, the Danube Soya Association, which promotes GM-free soy cultivation in the EU and a migration away from reliance on third country protein imports, announced that it has prohibited the use of glyphosate during maturation by its growers.