The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled on the decision by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to keep information about the environmental impact of glyphosate secret.

In its ruling the ECJ annulled the EFSA’s decisions refusing access to the toxicity and carcinogenicity studies on glyphosate.

The Court stated that the public has an interest in how the environment and organisms, which are not only targeting the active substance, can be affected in the long term by the use of glyphosate. So far, EFSA had not made available to the public those studies that served as the basis for the classification of glyphosate as "non-carcinogenic".

The ruling makes clear the public “must have access not only to information on emissions as such, but also to information concerning the medium to long-term consequences of those emissions on the state of the environment, such as the effects of those emissions on non-targeted organisms. The public interest in accessing information on emissions into the environment is specifically to know not only what is, or foreseeably will be, released into the environment, but also to understand the way in which the environment could be affected by the emissions in question”.

Environmental organisations welcomed the verdict. Franziska Achterberg, responsible for EU food policy at Greenpeace, said: “[the ruling] is a big step towards transparency and accountability in decision-making in the EU. People have the right to know the foreseeable health and environmental impact of EU decisions on products such as pesticides, and the Court has upheld that right. It is shocking that EFSA had to be reminded in court that its role is to protect public health and not the commercial interests of glyphosate producers”.

Last reviewed 13 March 2019