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Glyphosate considered no health risk by Swiss authorities

Protest against Syngenta company in Basel in 2016
Protestors gathered in front of the agri-chemical company Syngenta in the Swiss city of Basel two years ago. The firm is a leading producer of the weed killer glyphosate. Keystone

The widely used weedkiller glyphosate is no health risk for consumers in Switzerland, according to the government.

It said a report by the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office found the residue of glyphosate in produce was low and did not pose a risk.

In its statement, published on Wednesday, the government agreed with the European Union and other international organisations on the issue.

Last year, the Swiss parliament threw out calls from environmental and consumer groups to ban the use of all synthetic chemical pesticides, including glyphosate.

Swiss voters are likely to have the final say on a proposal to cut subsidies to framers using pesticide.

+ The initiative that tackles the use of pesticide and anti-biotics 

The EU has granted a temporary extension for the weedkiller, but Swiss farmers are not allowed to use it ahead of a harvest period.

The Swiss study is based on more than 240 samples from food in retail shops: 60% of them were glyphosate-free; the others contained traces of the pesticide below the risk level, according to the food safety authorities.

However, the International Agency for Research on CancerExternal link (IARC) in 2015 said glyphosate – the most widely used pesticide in Switzerland and globally – was probably carcinogenic to humans.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR