Glyphosate Facts

Transparency on safety aspects and use of glyphosate-containing herbicides in Europe


History of glyphosate

The molecule “glyphosate” was patented by Monsanto in the early 1970s as the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup®. Roundup was introduced to the consumer market in 1974 as a broad-spectrum herbicide and quickly became one of the best-selling herbicides since 1980.

Since its introduction in 1974, glyphosate has been used to control weeds in vineyards, orchards and cereals and many other crops species in Europe (© Sarah C./

Since its patent expiration in 2000, glyphosate has been marketed by various companies and several hundred plant protection products containing glyphosate are currently registered in Europe for use on croplands. In some European countries, for example in the UK and Germany, farmers use glyphosate for crop management on up to 40 per cent of the total agricultural acreage.

Over the past few decades, glyphosate has been evaluated by a number of international official regulatory authorities who consistently concluded it poses a low risk to human health based on results from an extensive toxicology database. The current registration in the European Union dates from 2002, and glyphosate is currently under re-evaluation as part of the established framework in the EU.

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Last update: 31 October 2013