The official European assessment of the health effects of glyphosate was plagiarised in part from industry studies. This is the conclusion from an analysis conducted by plagiarism expert Stefan Weber (University of Vienna) and biochemist Helmut Burtscher (Global 2000). The research was commissioned by GUE/NGL MEP Anja Hazekamp (Partij voor de Dieren, Netherlands) and MEPs from the Greens and S&D.

Download the full study here.

The German Federal Institute for Risk Management (BfR) was responsible for investigating the health effects of glyphosate. In assessing these health effects, the institute took over 50.1 percent – about 500 pages – of its safety assessment from studies carried out by the industry responsible for putting glyphosate in the market.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Commission used the German assessment as the basis for the EU approval of glyphosate. The World Health Organization had serious doubts about the safety of glyphosate and classified the pesticide as ‘probably carcinogenic’.

In their analysis, the plagiarism experts distinguished between misleading plagiarism and ‘ordinary’ cutting and pasting work. In the misleading, plagiarised parts of the European safety assessment, conclusions from studies were taken up literally, but presented as their own work. This happened in 50.1 percent of the text in the chapter on health effects. In addition, 22.7 percent of this chapter was cut and pasted with a source indication. The chapter on environmental effects, carried out by another authority, contained less plagiarism: 2.5 percent.

According to MEP Anja Hazekamp (Partij voor de Dieren, Netherlands) plagiarism was the basis for the approval of glyphosate. “The authorities have uncritically taken hundreds of pages of industry studies and falsely presented them as their own research. Both the EFSA and the BfR have deliberately mislead 500 million people while the health of animals and our environment were put at risk. They simply had to do their job. This safety assessment can no longer be considered valid.”

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