Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service endorsing the European Union’s (EU) 10-year registration renewal efforts for glyphosate.
In the letter, FFVA stressed that glyphosate herbicide has been used safely and successfully in Europe for more than 40 years. It noted that leading health regulators, including in Europe, the United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, Korea, New Zealand and Japan, continue to conclude that glyphosate is safe when used as directed.
FFVA members “depend heavily on the weed management effectiveness and the economic benefits afforded by using glyphosate herbicide in their fields/groves,” the association wrote.
Except for oranges, Florida produces its citrus crops for the fresh market, FFVA pointed out. “This demands that commodities are of top quality, aesthetically perfect, 100% blemish-free and
completely free of other imperfections,” the association added. “This can be difficult to achieve, especially under Florida’s subtropical environmental growing conditions that are so conducive to germination and prolific growth of problematic weed populations … Fruit and vegetable farmers rely on glyphosate herbicide for sound, successful weed management.”
The letter stated that Florida ranks first in the United States in value of production of the glyphosate-registered citrus crops grapefruit and oranges, and second in value of production of the glyphosate-registered citrus crops tangerines and tangelos.
EU governments recently failed to reach a conclusive opinion on the glyphosate renewal. They will make another attempt in November. If the next attempt fails to produce a clear consensus, the responsibility for the decision will shift to the European Commission. A decision is needed by Dec. 14 since the current approval expires the following day.
FFVA members with questions about the glyphosate renewal issue may contact FFVA Vice President of Science and Regulatory Affairs Mike Aerts.
In 2022, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences weed scientist Ramdas Kanissery suggested strategies growers can use to fine-tune glyphosate’s crop-safe usage in citrus.
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