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Are they not independent enough? – pesticide authorization bodies are criticized

Flowering agriculture is also possible thanks to the use of pesticides. To guarantee quality and harvest, man relies on pesticides, says Farmers Association president Markus Ritter.

But pesticides can get into drinking water and at best be harmful to humans, animals and the environment. In recent months, cantonal chemists have reported several reports of exceeding the drinking water limit. But it's a controversy.

So it's no wonder that the pesticide issue was a big topic at yesterday's meeting of farmers' delegates. There was talk of "witch hunting." It was an "illusion" to believe that it could be done without plant protection products.

The Pesticide Acceptance Committee, Federal Bureau of Agriculture (BLW), has now been referred. A KPMG external investigation report on behalf of various federal agencies, including agencies for agriculture, the environment and health, concludes that the receiving office – due to BLW membership – lacked formal independence.

It has a negative impact on credibility and lack of transparency. The Federal Office of Environmental Protection is too little involved in the process.

Intransparent approach

In particular, BLW examines the manufacturer's requirements and regularly analyzes pesticides. The Federal Office has individual cases checked by competent authorities, such as Agroscop or Seco. It also includes current studies and recommendations from the EU. However, the approval decision is always ultimately up to the BLW.

Canton chemist Kurt Seiler says it's often unclear how the cantons' location is incorporated into the licensing process. He welcomes the external report: "It would be good if the Federal Office, which is actually responsible for the environment, i.e. Bafu, plays a more important role in this process." It is clear to Seiler: "There is a risk that the agricultural permit may fail."

Is there a new authorization process?

The Federal Bureau of Agriculture records an external report. But now you want to analyze the results in a task force. The various federal agencies involved in the process want to develop a concept to optimize the approval process. The first results are expected next spring.

A more fundamental problem with authorization procedures in Switzerland and the EU is Carsten Brühl.

A scientist at Koblenz Landau University worked for several years for the pesticide producer Syngenta. «The procedure was determined on one material test. Thus, the effect of an individual pesticide is checked. However, several pesticides are used in agriculture and this mixture has a different, more negative impact on the environment. "

Innovation is inhibited

Pesticide producers cannot understand the allegations of independence of the Steering Committee. Scienceindustries writes: "The increasingly stringent regulatory requirements of government are hampering innovation for the benefit of human, animal and environmental health."

Crucial to the approval process is the knowledge of scientists, not the organizational involvement of a body. The affected federal agencies are debating whether and how the approval process is tailored. This is also for agriculture.