09:01 GMT02 June 2020
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    The European Commission (EC) offered to issue a “limited extension” to approve a controversial ingredient used in herbicide known as glyphosate if member states fail to do so, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – No qualified majority has been reached among EU member states to renew approval for glyphosate, which expires July 1. Member states would have to withdraw glyphosate-containing plant protection products from their market in the event that the extension would be rejected.

    “We have now called for the Expert Committee to meet on the 6th of June to discuss the file once again and take the vote on the basis of a limited extension of the current approval,” Andriukaitis said in a statement.

    Citing EU law, the commissioner offered the EU Agency for Chemical Products (ECHA) to “dispel the remaining doubts” on the carcinogenic effects of glyphosate “and to extend the current approval of glyphosate until it receives ECHA’s opinion.”

    "Next Monday, Member States will therefore be asked to vote on such a measure. Once again, this is a collective decision," Andriukaitis reiterated.

    The European Parliament called for seven-year EU market approval in a non-binding resolution passed in April.

    Last month, the UN World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO) Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) assessed that glyphosate was “unlikely” linked to cancer. In April, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

    A March 2015 WHO panel study concluded there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in animals exposed to glyphosate, and determined that the substance is "probably" carcinogenic to humans.

    Glyphosate is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world. Many crops are made resistant to glyphosate, through genetic modifications, to increase the effectiveness of weed control. Critics believe that it may cause cancer and other serious diseases.

    European Union, approval, glyphosate, European Commission
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