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Agriculture » EU to go Ahead with Glyphosate Extension

EU to go Ahead with Glyphosate Extension

EU to go Ahead with Glyphosate Extension
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A controversial herbicide, commonly used as a weed killer, has been given a temporary reprieve after it looked as though it could face a ban in the EU. Officials have granted glyphosate an 18-month licence extension, much to the dismay of green groups who argue that this chemical is potentially carcinogenic.

A controversial approval

Despite mixed reactions from EU countries regarding the fate of glyphosate, EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, sealed its fate, at least for the time being. Research groups, including the World Health Organisation, argue that there is a link between this herbicide and the risk of cancer. As a result, a potential ban within the EU had been recently debated. Notwithstanding this, Andriukaitis has cleared glyphosate for use with an 18-month license extension.

A worrying decision

Campaigners for the ban of glyphosate are disappointed with the decision reached. They worry that this means that we now face a further 18 months of exposure to this potentially deadly chemical sprayed in our gardens, parks and on farmland. The real concern is the consequences of this herbicide for human health if it infiltrates the food chain.

Campaigners also feel angry that the EU failed to put the interests of its people first when it came to the decision-making. Instead, they argue, it routinely takes the side of large, profitable corporations, such as Monsanto, which manufacture products containing glyphosate.

People power

Despite the licensing extension of glyphosate, it isn’t all doom and gloom for campaigners. People power has had a strong influence on the future of this herbicide in the EU. Manufacturers had previously assumed that it would have been granted a 15-year license extension.

In particular, a pressure group called Global Justice Now has been fundamental in raising awareness as to the potential dangers of this herbicide. The group produced packs containing spoof labels resembling Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, with information on the labels stating the carcinogenic dangers of the chemical and how this corporate giant is degrading farmers’ power. The group has been encouraging activists to distribute these labels on Roundup products in garden centres, and to share their images on social media.

The future

Although glyphosate may be kept on our shelves for now, its future still hangs in the balance. Vytenis Andriukaitis has revealed that certain member countries, including France, Germany and Italy, sought to get the herbicide approved, yet publicly demonstrated opposition to renewal. He expressed surprise and regret at the ambiguity of some member states.

This ambiguity and institutional deadlock confirms that there is a greater need for education and facts. Those involved with executive search in the agriculture recruitment sector will no doubt see senior figures involved in an increasingly heated debate surrounding glyphosate. Indeed, some professionals in executive search in agricultural recruitment believe that an individual candidate’s position on this and similar matters will be significant factors in senior hiring decisions.

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