The European Commission's chemicals regulator DG SANCO and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are trying to provide an escape route for endocrine disrupting pesticides, which under European law should be banned.
These shenanigans on the part of SANCO and EFSA are relevant to the GMO issue because glyphosate, the herbicide used with over 80% of GMOs, is an endocrine disruptor (see for example the new edition of GMO Myths and Truths http://earthopensource.org/index.php/reports/gmo-myths-and-truths) and thus should be banned.
New attack on EU policy regarding endocrine disruption
Health DG SANCO prepares an escape route for pesticides
Press release, Pesticide Action Network Europe, 20 May 2014
Commission health service DG SANCO is on its way to develop an escape route for endocrine disrupting pesticides that will be banned in future. This is done behind closed doors with EU member states and Food Authority EFSA. Sweden fiercely protested against this initiative because they feel the pesticide Regulation is misused and doesn’t allow for a general derogation. Food Authority EFSA is also active in the SANCO working group, lobbying to revise the legislation on endocrines back to traditional risk assessment and encouraging SANCO to use an escape route.
European Commission refused to meet their obligation to present criteria for endocrine disrupting pesticides by December 14, 2013 and decided to do an economic impact assessment first. They next fail to come up with a roadmap for the impact assessment for already more than 9 months now. In contrast to this inactivity, Health DG SANCO is actively looking for an escape route in case future criteria would lead to a ban of pesticides. The text in the Regulation mentions that in case of "negligible exposure" (1107/2009, Annex II, 3.6.5) an authorization might be given. This however is only allowed for closed systems or systems where humans are not put in contact with the substance, according to the legal text. Sweden now blows the whistle and send letters to DG SANCO (published on the PAN Europe website) saying DG SANCO is not playing according to the rules and develops a general derogation for pesticides.
It also appears from documents released by Commission to PAN Europe (on the PAN website) that EFSA has an active role in the SANCO working group. A representative of the EFSA Scientific Committee writes to Barroso’s advisors that they keep on opposing the pesticide legislation and aim to return to traditional risk assessment. This is in line with pesticide industry’s efforts. The representative also complains about the pesticide legislation having no "control route" or "socio-economic route" to save endocrine disrupting pesticides from a ban and keep them on the market. The person suggests that the "negligible exposure" option will be a good option to fill this gap.
PAN Europe feels that EU Commission is undermining the rules and the hazard approach that is included in the democratically agreed rules. By unilaterally changing the rules, Commission is sidelining EU Parliament and choosing economic interests over their own mission to protect people and the environment.
 Unless the exposure of humans to that active substance, safener or synergist in a plant protection product, under realistic proposed conditions of use, is negligible, that is, the product is used in closed systems or in other conditions excluding contact with humans and where residues of the active substance, safener or synergist concerned on food and feed do not exceed the default value set in accordance with point (b) of Article 18(1) of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005.