By Natasha Foote – EURACTIV.com, 3 December 2020 | Source
The current procedure for the approval of active substances in pesticides “raises concerns” according to the EU Ombudsman, who outlined several recommendations for measures to improve the approval process and increase its transparency.
The new conclusion of the EU watchdog, published on Wednesday (2 December), evaluates the way the European Commission approves ‘active substances’ used in pesticides.
It concluded that “where EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) identifies critical areas of concern or does not identify a safe use, the Commission should seek clarifications from EFSA before approving the active substance in question, in accordance with the precautionary principle”.
The Ombudsman also asked for more transparency in the decision-making process and clarification on how the Commission gets to its conclusion on safe use while there is no data available.
For an active substance in a pesticide to be approved for the EU market, the producer must first submit an application to EFSA.
EFSA then carries out a scientific risk assessment, designed to provide the basis of the European Commission’s approval or the conditions of the approval decision.
The EU watchdog investigated this procedure following a complaint filed to the Ombudsman’s office by Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) in 2013, in which the NGO denounced what they considered to be unlawful approvals of active substances in pesticides by the European Commission.