On Thursday, the European Union’s General Court ruled that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) must publish studies related to its safety assessment of glyphosate in 2015.
EFSA had previously refused requests by some members of the European Parliament, and the public, to make these studies public. This was on the grounds that the documents detailed the composition and recipes of glyphosate products and publishing them would breach business confidentiality rules.
However, last week’s court ruling found that public interest in the possible effect of glyphosate on public health and the environment is more important than protecting confidential business information and that EFSA was wrong to refuse access to the studies.
EFSA welcomed the clarification that the court ruling provided and some NGOs welcomed the move as a positive step towards greater transparency in this area of EU decision-making.
Bayer, the company that produces Glyphosate, noted that it increasingly makes some pesticide safety studies available publicly through its online transparency portal.
While EFSA will now move to publish the documents in question, the court ruling does not challenge the authority’s conclusion that "glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans" and is safe to when applied appropriately.