France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden have agreed to take over from Germany as the lead countries responsible for assessing the safety of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used pesticide.
The Commission announced Friday that the four countries will form part of an entity dubbed the Assessment Group on Glyphosate (AGG) in an update to its website.
National health experts still need to formally endorse the decision with a vote inside the Commission’s Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.
“Following discussions with the Member States, a group of Member States have accepted to act jointly as Rapporteur,” the Commission said.
The debate about whether glyphosate causes cancer wages on in Europe, despite a vote in late 2017 to renew the herbicide’s license in the EU for another five years. The decision passed thanks to a last-minute U-turn by Germany, whose agriculture minister took his own line rather than the government’s and ordered a vote in favor of renewing, rather than abstaining.
France, whose food safety authority will be partly in charge of assessing glyphosate, is proactively attempting to ease farmers off using the substance as a way to improve the environment.
The decision to use four countries was made because no single country volunteered to take on the role alone, the Commission said, adding that scientific work will be carried out by their respective national agencies from 2020 onward.