Call to heed experts

By Country News

CropLife Australia, the national peak industry body for the plant science sector, has called for a less alarmist reaction to the judgement in the United States on a case involving glyphosate.

‘‘CropLife and our members strongly support the robust, rigorous and independent regulatory systems and assessments that these products are subjected to here in Australia,’’ chief executive officer Mathew Cossey said.

‘‘What is most concerning is the alarmist and significantly misinformed commentary on the safety of glyphosate following a recent San Francisco jury decision.

‘‘Equal weight appears to be given to views of commentators with clever Twitter handles that have spent no more than two minutes researching the latest social media meme, to that of credible, highly qualified and globally respected medical and toxicological scientists with decades of experience and knowledge on this specific topic,’’ Mr Cossey said.

‘‘CropLife encourages all observers and commentators to refer and give primacy to the independent experts on these matters, instead of continuing to inadvertently perpetrate misunderstanding and misinformation and as a consequence escalate community concern unnecessarily.

‘‘It should be noted that every single independent science-based regulatory agency globally has comprehensively evaluated glyphosate and found it safe to use.’’

A Greens motion calling for a formal review into glyphosate to be conducted by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority and calling on Monsanto to publicly release its scientific data has been defeated in the Senate.

‘‘I’m disappointed that Labor and the government rejected this motion, which comes in the wake of the court decision in the USA last week and has potentially huge health and legal liability ramifications here in Australia,’’ Australian Greens agriculture spokesperson Senator Janet Rice said.

Gene Ethics director Bob Phelps said farmers, land managers, gardeners or citizens exposed to Roundup or its residues who now suffered non-Hodgkins lymphoma may have a strong case for compensation.

‘‘Farm use of Roundup, especially as a pre-harvest crop spray which leaves residues in food, must be prohibited now,’’ Mr Phelps said.