EFSA: glyphosate assessment found no areas of critical concern, but some gaps in data were identified

Source: (Adobe Stock)


The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has completed a peer review of the risk assessment of glyphosate, a chemical used as herbicide. In its assessment, EFSA found no area of critical concern regarding the risk of exposure to humans, animals or the environment. The identification of an area of critical concern could have prevented the approval or renewal of the use of glyphosate for all proposed uses. The approval period for the use of glyphosate in the European Union (EU) ends on 15 December 2023. This means that until that date glyphosate may be used as an active substance in herbicides provided that each product is authorised by the national authorities following a safety assessment.



For the risk assessment in the EU, EFSA relied on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) that, in 2022, carried out a hazard assessment of glyphosate and concluded that it did not meet the scientific criteria to be classified as a carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic substance. However, some gaps were found in the data, which were reported as unresolved issues or were suspended in the EFSA conclusions; these include the assessment of an impurity present in glyphosate, the assessment of the food risk to consumers and the risks that this substance poses to aquatic plants.



Other unresolved issues concern the lack of information on the toxicity of one of the components of the glyphosate pesticide formulation. This information is considered essential to conduct the risk assessment associated with the formulation for representative uses. For this formulation there are no indications of acute toxicity and genotoxicity.



With regard to biodiversity, experts recognised that the risks associated with the representative use of glyphosate are complex and depend on several factors. However, the lack of harmonised methodologies and agreed specific protection objectives has made it difficult to draw final conclusions on this aspect of risk assessment. Therefore, risk managers will consider possible mitigation measures.



In ecotoxicology, the analysis of the available data has taken a conservative approach, identifying a long-term high risk for mammals in 12 of the 23 proposed uses of glyphosate.


The risk assessment process for glyphosate has been long and complex, and has involved dozens of scientific experts from EFSA and several Member States who have made use of thousands of studies and scientific papers available on the subject as well as the valuable contribution of public consultation.



The EFSA peer review and its conclusions were sent to the European Commission and the Member States to guide their decision on keeping glyphosate on the list of approved active substances in plant protection products.



The conclusions of the EFSA peer review, together with the reference documents, were published in full on the EFSA website.





Conclusion on pesticides peer review



Opinion of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)







Source EFSA


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