29 November, 2017
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup product, the world's most widely used herbicide.
Glyphosate has been the subject of a two-year battle between environmental groups and farmers after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded in 2015 that it was a "probable human carcinogen".
Guy Smith, NFU vice president, said: "It is good news that farmers and growers will be able to continue using glyphosate for another five years".
However, the approval falls far short of the 15-year license the commission had originally sought and Conservative MEPs lashed out at what they called "an emotional, irrational but politically convenient fudge".
Adrien Bebb, of Friends of the Earth Europe, described the vote as "a missed opportunity", and Phillipe Lamberts, leader of the Greens in the European Parliament, tweeted: "Public health sacrificed again for profit". "They can not plan for the future without long term assurances about the availability of substances they rely on".
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"The people who are supposed to protect us from risky pesticides have failed to do their jobs and betrayed the trust Europeans place in them", Greenpeace EU food policy director Franziska Achterberg said. It also reduces the need for ploughing, which benefits the environment and enables farmers to apply no tillage, which reduces soil erosion, and keeps soil organic matters up.
Sarah Mukherjee, of Britain's Crop Protection Association, said in October: "Every independent scientific study into glyphosate has found it is safe for consumers, including the EU's own European Chemicals Agency and European Food Safety Authority".
Chris Portier, an advisor to IARC in its glyphosate decision, told the Guardian that, in his view, the European Union decision was scientifically unsound.
Traces of glyphosate have been found in tests of foodstuffs, water, topsoil and human urine, according to the Detox Project, an organization that allows people to test themselves for traces of the chemical compound. The Papers include a host of documents from United States regulators and USA scientists, as well as thousands of pages of internal Monsanto emails, memos and other documents.
More than 280 similar lawsuits are now pending against Monsanto, according to the United States right to know campaign. Monsanto declined to comment.