| LONDON/BRUSSELS, Sept 29
LONDON/BRUSSELS, Sept 29 Europe's food safety
watchdog will release data from some of the scientific studies
it reviewed in its assessment of glyphosate, an ingredient in
Monsanto's widely used herbicide Roundup and subject of
a fierce row over possible cancer risk.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said on Thursday
it had decided to release the raw data as part of its
"commitment to open risk assessment".
EFSA had received several requests for data in relation to
its glyphosate assessment, including from members of the
"Transparency and openness are essential values for EFSA
because they strengthen confidence in science," EFSA said in a
statement. "The information will be shared with a group of MEPs
following a public access to document request".
It was not immediately clear when the information will be
Glyphosate, which is used in Roundup as well as other
companies' weed-killers, is at the heart of a dispute in Europe
and United States about whether its wide-spread use as a
weed-killer on crops could heighten cancer risks.
Monsanto has long defended the safety of its herbicide,
saying the renewal of glyphosate's licence in Europe was vital
to European farmers.
The European Union in July granted a temporary extension of
its approval for the weed-killer, pending further scientific
study after a proposal for full licence renewal met with
opposition from member states and campaign groups.
The issue blew up in March 2015 after the International
Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), based in Lyon and part of
the World Health Organization (WHO), said that glyphosate is
This finding was at odds with previous risk assessment in
Germany and the United States, and was followed seven months
later by EFSA's own assessment of glyphosate as "unlikely to
pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans".
Some campaign groups involved in the row have suggested EFSA
was unduly influenced by studies backed by Monsanto, which
analysts say could stand to lose out on up to $100 million of
sales of its weed killer if it were banned in Europe.
According to data published by IARC, glyphosate is
registered in "over 130 countries as of 2010" and is one of the
most heavily used weed killers in the world.
EFSA's executive director Bernhard Url said his agency's
decision to share data that underpin its work "is a key
ingredient in making science reproducible and therefore
(Reporting by Kate Kelland in London and Alissa de Carbonnel in
Brussels Editing by Alison Williams)