Glyphosate is a chemical that is widely used in plant protection products (PPPs). Glyphosate-based PPPs – i.e. formulations containing glyphosate, co-formulants such as anti-foaming agents, and possibly other chemicals – are mainly used in agriculture and horticulture to combat weeds that compete with cultivated crops.
Glyphosate is currently approved for use in the EU until 15 December 2022. This means it can be used as an active substance in PPPs until that date, subject to each product being authorised by national authorities following a safety evaluation.
The current five-year approval was granted by the European Commission in 2017 following separate assessments by EFSA and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). A step-by-step account of the 2017 approval process can be found on the European Commission website.
Application for renewal
In 2019, the Glyphosate Renewal Group (GRG), a group of companies seeking the renewal of approval of the substance in the EU, formally applied to renew the approval of glyphosate for use after the current period expires at the end of 2022. This application initiated the renewal process as provided for by EU legislation.
The application is being considered and assessed by four EU Member States – France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden – acting jointly as “rapporteurs”. This group is known as the Assessment Group of Glyphosate (AGG).
On 8 June 2020, the GRG submitted the dossier containing the required set of scientific studies and literature data. All files that have been submitted for the assessment and peer review process are available on the GRG website.
The AGG has carried out an admissibility check of the dossier and is now assessing the information submitted by the GRG. Once complete, this assessment will be passed to EFSA in the form of a renewal assessment report (RAR) to initiate the peer review process. EFSA’s final conclusion will be scheduled for publication in mid-2022. More information on the renewal of approval and peer review process is available here.
In parallel with the EFSA-led assessment, ECHA will review the classification of glyphosate under the EU’s Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation. Classification of chemicals is based solely on the hazardous properties of a substance – for example if it is corrosive, or toxic to reproduction – and does not take account of the likelihood of exposure to the substance. Exposure is considered as part of the risk assessment process led by EFSA. ECHA’s assessment will be delivered prior to EFSA’s conclusions in 2022.