European Ombudsman asks Commission to increase transparency in the approval process for pesticides

14 December 2020

In a recently published decision, the EU Ombudsman has raised concerns regarding the current procedure for the approval of active substances in pesticides by the Commission.

The procedure is criticised for two main issues. First, the Ombudsman questions the Commission’s practice of approving active substances which had been identified either no safe use or critical areas of concern by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the EU body in charge of the scientific safety assessment. The second criticism concerns the Commission’s practice of approving substances for which additional data confirming their safety must be submitted at a later stage, a method known as ‘confirmatory data’. 

The decision is concluded with three suggestions for the Commission to improve the procedure including that the Commission should (1) approve active substances based only on uses that have been reviewed and confirmed to be safe by EFSA, systematically publish an explanation of its approvals of active substances in clear and understandable language to public, and (3) use the confirmatory data procedure with particular caution and restraint, with due regard to the precautionary principle.

See the full decision here.