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Approval of active substances in plant protection products: Transparency has priority

19/2018, 15.05.2018

President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) outlines scientific principles before a special committee of the EU Parliament

More openness and transparency in the assessment of the active substances contained in plant protection products - that was the appeal of BfR President, Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel, at the hearing before the special committee of the EU Parliament on the authorisation of plant protection products. The committee had the mandate of preparing recommendations to make the authorisation process for plant protection products more transparent. "The BfR has been supporting the further improvement of the assessment process for years," said Hensel. "Original toxicological studies from industry should be made freely accessible".

Hensel explained to the special committee the scientific aspects of risk assessment in the active substance approval process, which is uniform throughout the EU, as well as risk assessment in national authorisation decisions concerning plant protection products. Unrestricted access to scientific information by the public is desirable in his view.

Many questions from the special committee related to the evaluation of glyphosate. The herbicidal active substance was assessed by the BfR as non-carcinogenic in accordance with the latest available scientific knowledge. This decision was reached on the basis of an independent and comprehensive evaluation of all available scientific studies, said Hensel. All assessment authorities world-wide,which had access to the original data came to the conclusion after making their own assessment that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic to humans in line with the latest level of available knowledge.

About the BfR

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

The BfR is 15 years old. To mark the occasion, the Institute has published a jubilee brochure which can be downloaded or ordered free of charge at

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.


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