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EC’s Scientific Advice Mechanism made recommendations on the EU system for agrochemical approvalqrcode

Jun. 7, 2018

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Jun. 7, 2018
The European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM) Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, made recommendations to the European Commission in a report in response to its request on whether “the current EU dual system for approval and authorisation of plant protection products (PPP) can be rendered more effective, efficient and transparent, and if so, how?” 
 
The advisors’ recommendations address: 
 
• Tensions between the regulatory goals of (a) the avoidance of harmful effects and (b) improvement of agricultural production as a result of PPP use; how these goals reflect societal views; how the tensions between them are resolved and how they are communicated 
• Organisation and operation of the EU dual system for approval and authorisation of PPPs concerning: the role, mandate and the capacity of those involved; the extent to which data are effectively recorded and shared within and outside the system; and how divergent opinions are addressed 
• The evolving nature of scientific hazard and risk assessment in terms of: the tools available for assessment; the types of PPPs submitted for approval; the assessment of risks associated with mixtures and aggregate exposure; and landscape-scale environmental effects, in part associated with over-use of PPPs 
 
The advisors also make a general recommendation, beyond the specific recommendations as they note the plurality of strongly held views in different sections of society concerning perceived levels of risk and what constitutes acceptable risk in this and other health, environment and food safety related areas, that the European Commission:
 
Facilitate a broader discussion throughout society to establish an EU-wide, shared vision for food production, including the role of PPPs therein. 
 
This would need to bring together all EU policies related to the food chain and the environment upon which it depends, and include broad consideration of costs and benefits to society, with due regard to trade-offs between ecosystem services. 
 
SAM summarized specific recommendations on the EU system for approval and authorisation of PPPs as follows:
 
1. Clarify the protection goals of the EU PPP approval and authorisation system and improve their communication – to ensure adequate functioning and to increase public trust
 
2. Improve the organisation and operation of the EU PPP system – to increase transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in scientific assessments and decision-making
 
3. Implement systematic post-market vigilance – to ensure adequate protection is provided, and to increase trust
 
4. Secure and strengthen scientific knowledge and capacity in risk assessment – to enable excellence in protection methods
 
5. Improve guidance, oversight and transparency of pre-market studies – to ensure the availability and quality of data to perform proper assessments
 
6. Re-examine the treatment of hazards, risks, costs and benefits – to provide reassurance that the system is fit-for-purpose
 
7. Augment mechanisms to resolve divergent scientific assessments – to safeguard public trust in scientific advice
 

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