Federal Court releases its decision

Safe Food Matters (SFM) has received notice that the Federal Court will not direct that an independent review panel be struck to review glyphosate. 

The Court was of the view that SFM needed to “challenge the science relied on by the PMRA in the Evaluations”.  We respectfully disagree, and believe that our job was to  raise a scientific doubt about the validity of the evaluations Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) conducted.  A “valid evaluation” is one that is complete, transparent, current and free from bias and the appearance of conflict of interest. 

We believe we did that, by showing that PMRA did not examine the mechanism in plants that allows higher levels of glyphosate to accumulate in the seeds of legumes and cereals when they are desiccated. As such, the evaluation was not complete, and Health Canada cannot with complete impunity say there is no “unacceptable risk” to human health.

The process has also not been transparent: safety studies are made available only after the final re-evaluation  decision; and Health Canada has still not responded to the question asked years ago, that the Court re-asked:  “Who are the Scientists?”. 

It was not current:  the dietary exposure data used was from the US and from the mid 1990s, and the scientific studies cited in the evaluations are old.

And it was not free from bias or the appearance of conflict of interest:  the Monsanto Papers were part of the review, and it is yet to be confirmed whether the studies that were recently shown to be tainted with fraud were also part of the review.  

Safe Food Matters will review its next steps with counsel and its board.  These could include launching an appeal if the case permits, or asking for judicial review of the reasonableness of PMRAs decision (an option that the Court left open), provided time limits allow. In addition, working for legal amendments may be warranted.

“Although we are not pleased with the decision, we think the process has been productive.  More people are aware that there could be high levels of glyphosate in their legumes and cereals. Farmers are aware of the problems with desiccation, and many are stopping the practise. Companies like Kellogg’s are announcing they will not be tolerating desiccation”, said Mary Lou McDonald, President of Safe Food Matters. “Each of these is a win”.

She continued: “We would like to thank all those who have been with us on this journey so far. Their energy, financial and emotional support have been tremendous.”

 

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