A win for sanity. Because it is cheap and very effective the Green/Left have long hated it and tried to drum up evidence of its harmfulness. The big problem is that it is NOT harmful in normal use. Lawsuits have however cost Monsanto a lot of money. Background on the campaign against it below
The European Commission has approved the use of the controversial weedkiller glyphosate for another decade, with a spokesperson for Australian growers backing the move as good news for exports.
Authorisation in European Union countries was set to expire on December 15, after a one-year extension was given last year.
Without access to the chemical, which kills a broad spectrum of weeds, farmers claimed food production would have been affected.
The weedkiller is also widely used among the broader population by backyard and professional gardeners.
Farmers globally were worried the commission would not renew its approval, given strong pressure from anti-glyphosate campaigners, and claims that glyphosate is a health hazard.
But the commission defied those expectations in a split decision this week, after key member states France, Germany and Italy abstained from voting.
Earlier this year, a class action lawsuit was launched against the makers of glyphosate by people diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma who used or were exposed to Roundup.
In September, a preliminary nine-week trial in the Federal Court in Melbourne heard from expert witnesses about whether glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans.
Closing submissions in that trial are scheduled for January.
Research on glysophate 'intensifying'
In a statement, the European Commission said the approval was "based on comprehensive safety assessments carried out by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Chemicals Agency, together with the member states".
It said there was "no evidence to classify glyphosate as being carcinogenic".
In granting a 10-year extension, rather than the usual 15-year time frame, the commission said research on glyphosate was "intensifying".
"New insights on the properties of glyphosate relevant for the protection of human health and environment can be expected," it said.
It also said the 10-year approval came with several new conditions, including the prohibition of use as a desiccant, or drying agent, and the setting of maximum application rates.
The European Union's (EU) chemical regulation system is a two-step process, meaning member states have the right to ban products even if approved at EU level.
Shona Gawel, chief executive of peak body GrainGrowers, said a glyphosate ban in the EU would have been bad news for Australian growers. "I don't like to speculate on exactly what it would have meant but … it could have impacted on exports," she said.
"There are also other countries that watch the EU fairly closely, so we suspect that would mean they might have started to reflect the EU requirements."
Ms Gawel said Australia's chemical regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), had ruled glyphosate to be non-carcinogenic.
"I know the APVMA scientists have reviewed close to 4,800 peer-reviewed articles and datasets around glyphosate usage, so I think we have to trust the science," she said.
Ms Gawel said that while farmers do use chemicals that are harmful to human health, it was done in a safe way.
"It's a little bit like with our family pets at home — if we give them a flea treatment, if we used a chemical like that outside of the way the label dictates, it would be harmful," she said.
"So it's the same approach when it comes to the use of chemicals on farms, that growers have training and they use chemicals in compliance with labels."