The EU regulatory requirements for pesticides are widely considered to be among the strictest in the world, as indicated in the recent European Commission report on the Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme (REFIT) evaluation of the EU pesticides legislation. The EU system for pesticides approval is a two-stage process. Active substances, such as glyphosate, intended for use in plant protection products must first be approved centrally at EU level.
Individual commercial products containing approved active substances are subsequently authorised at a national level by Member State competent authorities. This is carried out on the basis of detailed scientific assessments which take account of local agronomic and environmental conditions and any specific measures stipulated in active substance approval decisions.
The EU process to consider if the current approval of the active substance glyphosate can be renewed has started. A decision must be reached before the existing approval expires on 15 December 2022. The renewal process will involve a comprehensive evaluation of all relevant data, comprising both specified regulatory studies and literature data. It will include the most up-to-date information and will carefully consider potential impacts of glyphosate use on biodiversity. There will also be a rigorous peer review process, involving public consultation and the participation of scientific experts from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and Member State competent authorities, including the involvement of Irish experts.
My Department will be guided by EFSA’s conclusions on the EU evaluation and peer review processes in relation to decisions and actions concerning glyphosate.