EU committee wrong and selective on pesticides, says MEP

An EU committee set up to review pesticide authorisation reached the wrong conclusions while ignoring crucial evidence, according to a new report from a UK MEP.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative spokesperson on agriculture, said her paper sets the record straight and offers balance to proposals over the future of regulation.

See also: Why growers must reduce reliance on pesticides

Entitled “The European Union’s Authorisation Procedure for Pesticides: A Science Based Approach”, the paper takes aim at the European parliament’s PEST committee, which voted to increase transparency in the pesticides approval procedure in January.

What the PEST committee said:

  • The public should be granted access to studies used in the pesticide authorisation procedure
  • EU framework should promote innovation and use of low-risk pesticides
  • Experts should review studies on carcinogenicity of glyphosate
  • Data requirements for Plant Protection Products should include long-term toxicity

Ms McIntyre’s report concludes by saying: “Regrettably… rather than offer a balanced, thoughtful reflection on the legislative framework, the [PEST] report purposefully vilifies those involved, from Efsa [the European Food Safety Authority] to national competent authorities, and underplays [their] effectiveness…”

Selective

The PEST report was created in a very selective manner, with many of the experts and authorities consulted completely ignored in the final paper, said Ms McIntyre at the launch of her paper.

“The EU commission, EU regulatory agencies, member state authorities and Greenpeace, who all gave evidence to the PEST committee, said it was not flaws in the legislation that needed to be addressed, but improvements in its implementation,” according to Ms McIntyre.

The MEP added that the report should have struck a balance and reflected the breadth of expert testimony it heard.

“I want the voice of rational, science-based reasoning to be heard and to support farmers, who are the ones that will inevitably bear the brunt of further burdensome regulation,” she added.

Ms McIntyre also called for support for new active substances, to make older, more persistent chemistry obsolete.

Criticism

French socialist politician and chairman of the PEST committee Marc Andrieu has been a strong critic of Ms McIntyre.

In February, Mr Andrieu accused Ms McIntyre of not working with the same force as others on the committee.

Mr Andrieu also took aim at Bayer and Monsanto, saying they needed to be forcefully told they were not above the law and should make public all of their scientific studies when applying for marketing authorisation.

Last week (8 April), Bayer did just this, placing all 107 company-owned glyphosate study reports that were used by Efsa as part of the authorisation process on its transparency platform.

“Transparency is a catalyst for trust, so more transparency is a good thing for consumers, policymakers and businesses,” said board member Liam Condon.