French environment minister Nicolas Hulot has applauded a Californian court judgment which found agrochemical giant Monsanto did not warn of the serious health risks of using its herbicide Roundup, ordering it to pay nearly $290 million to a school groundskeeper who developed terminal cancer after using the product, adding that he hoped the ruling 'corrects the indifference of politicians' over the dangers of the weedkiller's key compound glyphosate.
Glyphosate, the compound used in the herbicide Roundup manufactured by US agrochemical corporation Monsanto, which earlier this month was acquired by German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer, is suspected by several scientific studies of being carcinogenic, and notably of causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. But now a French couple have launched a lawsuit against the firm over serious malformations of their son’s digestive and respiratory systems which they argue was caused by his mother’s exposure to glyphosate in the early weeks of pregnancy. Crucially, they say that Monsanto knew of the compound’s potential dangers, but failed to warn of them in product labelling. Dorothée Moisan reports.
Monsanto product will be barred from self-service shopping outlets amid evidence that one of its constituents, glyphosate, is carcinogenic.
Farmers will no longer be able to plant seeds from the genetically-modified maize, which France claims could pose risks to the environment.
The Council of State rejected the legal basis for a government ban on growing Monsanto's GM corn which has been in force since March 2012.
The French government says it will seek a EU ban on imports of Monsanto GM corn if a study linking it to cancer in rats is deemed credible.
A controversial French study has found rats fed a diet of Monsanto's genetically modified corn suffered tumours and multiple organ damage.
France’s temporary ban on planting of a variety of GM maize by Monsanto is rejected by Europe’s food safety agency which sees no health risk.
Last month, French cereal farmer Paul François, 47, won a lengthy legal battle against US biotech giant Monsanto in a landmark ruling by a court in Lyon that could open a floodgate of complaints by farmers for chemical poisoning. François was found to have become severely handicapped as a direct result of his contamination by Lasso, a powerful herbicide produced by Monsanto. France is Europe’s biggest user, by volume, of pesticides, and worldwide only India and the United States use more. For François and other campaigners seeking to alert farmers to the dangers of chemical-based phytosanitary products, their battle targets not only the clout of the industrial lobby and a reluctance of the medical profession to recognise the illnesses caused by pesticides, but also a silent taboo among the farming community itself. Claire Le Nestour reports.
A French court has found the US biotech giant Monsanto legally responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who inhaled a powerful weedkiller.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a very special storage bank, wedged smack inside the frozen heart of an Arctic archipelago near the North Pole, designed to hold and preserve seed samples of every food crop in the world. In this second article in a two-part report, Mathilde Goanec reports from Spitsbergen on the controversy over the vault's financing; for among private sector sponsors is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has links with multinational biotech giant Monsanto, a proponent of genetically modified produce.