Conflicts of interest of panel members flagged up
The World Health Organisation/Food and Agriculture Organisation (WHO/FAO) Joint Meeting of Pesticides Residues (JMPR) committee will review glyphosate on 9-13 May, according to a report in EU Food Policy (behind paywall; no link).
The WHO's International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) concluded that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, but the European Food Safety Authority said the chemical is unlikely to pose a cancer risk. The JMPR will consider these opposing views and reach a decision within two weeks of the meeting, said EU Food Policy.
Last year the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups wrote a letter to the WHO and FAO expressing concerns about the conflicts of interest of the people on the reviewing panel.
The letter said, “We have examined the make-up of the expert task force through publicly available documents and have identified several members with actual or apparent conflicts of interest, including ties to glyphosate users and producers including Monsanto.
“Therefore we are very concerned about the ability of the expert task force as currently constituted to provide an impartial review of the risks, and make unbiased recommendations.
“We strongly urge WHO to ensure that the panel is free from conflicts and other biases that may unduly influence the work of the panel.”
The groups added, “JMPR should accept IARC’s cancer classification as issued and proceed with the task of identifying acceptable levels based on that classification and not establish a process to second-guess the recent work of IARC.”