Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller Roundup, is unlikely to cause cancer, according to the European Food Safety Authority.
The agency made its announcement Thursday, based on the assessment of a peer review group of agency scientists and “representatives from risk assessment bodies” in EU countries. They looked at exposure to the substance, setting for the first time an “acute reference dose” of 0.5 mg of glyphosate per kilogram of body weight.
“This has been an exhaustive process—a full assessment that has taken into account a wealth of new studies and data,” said Jose Tarazona, head of the European Food Safety Authority’s pesticides unit. "By introducing an acute reference dose, we are further tightening the way potential risks from glyphosate will be assessed in the future. Regarding carcinogenicity, it is unlikely that this substance is carcinogenic.”
The news contradicted a March 2015 announcement by the International Agency on Research on Cancer, which called glyphosate “probably carcinogenic.” It made a similar declaration about processed and red meats in October.
Monsanto, which makes Roundup, noted the European Food Safety Authority’s decision on its website.
“The reality is that regulatory authorities have reviewed all the key studies examined by IARC—and many more—and arrived at the overwhelming consensus that glyphosate poses no unreasonable risks to humans or the environment when used according to label instructions… ” Monsanto said in a statement. “Glyphosate has been a valuable tool for farmers and other users around the world for 40 years, and it will continue to serve as an important tool to help farmers sustainably nourish a growing world.”