SAPEA provides evidence for the European Commission on authorisation of Plant Protection Products

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) has published its third Evidence Review Report titled Improving authorisation processes for plant protection products in Europe: a scientific perspective on the assessment of potential risks to human health. The report examines the methods and procedures for assessing potential harmful effects on human health from the use of Plant Protection Products (PPPs), and the ways in which the current authorisation processes could be improved from a scientific perspective. 

As an integral part of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM), SAPEA was asked to produce this Evidence Review Report as one of the documents that informs the Scientific Opinion of the European Commission Group of Chief Scientific Advisors, in response to a request from Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis.

The Evidence Review Report makes suggestions for further improvement in:

  • The scientific data that underpin risk assessments
  • The methods by which such data are analysed
  • The ways in which assessment procedures are organised and tasks are allocated.

The report lists 26 Options, which were used to inform the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ Scientific Opinion, alongside a Social Sciences workshop on ‘Risk Perception and the Acceptability of Human Exposure to Pesticides’ (organised by SAPEA in 2017) and other sources of evidence.

To produce the Plant Protection Products Evidence Review Report, SAPEA brought together experts from across Europe, via the European Academy Networks. The experts formed a working group which was chaired by Professor Evangelia Ntzani (Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece, and Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health, Brown University School of Public Health, USA) and Professor David Coggon (Fellow of the UK Academy for Medical Sciences and Emeritus Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK).

Commissioner for Science, Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas said:

“Food safety is non-negotiable for Europeans and a priority for the Commission. I am grateful to the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors and the SAPEA experts for the evidence based recommendations in this opinion. They aim to maintain and enhance our very high standards of food safety and environmental protection and to re-establish trust in scientific risk assessment.”

Professor Bernard Charpentier 2018 Chair of the SAPEA board said:

“This SAPEA Evidence Review Report demonstrates not only the outstanding knowledge of the experts nominated by European academies, learned societies, and academy networks, but also the experts’ exemplary commitment to the voluntary task of bringing the best and newest scientific knowledge into policy making.”

The SAPEA evidence review report is available at:

A report on SAPEA’s Social Sciences Workshop ‘Risk Perception and the Acceptability of Human Exposure to Pesticides’ is available at:

The Group of Chief Scientific Advisors’ Opinion is available at: