Following the successful lawsuit against Monsanto in California in August in which a jury ruled that a former groundskeeper’s cancer was caused by Roundup, and that the company knowingly withheld information about the carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, industry analysts are warning that Bayer is now bracing itself for thousands of future claims.
German-based acquired Monsanto earlier this year for $63 billion and according to Reuters, the company faces years of legal activity with some 8,000 lawsuits currently being brought against Monsanto, much higher than the 5,200 cases previously disclosed by Bayer in June.
“The number of plaintiffs in both state and federal litigation is approximately 8,000 as of end-July. These numbers may rise or fall over time but our view is that the number is not indicative of the merits of the plaintiffs’ cases,” Bayer’s chief executive Werner Baumann admitted to analysts in a conference call.
The lawsuits are also pulling in food manufacturers, with General Mills having to remove a claim about the use of ‘100% natural whole grain oats’ in its Nature Valley brand cereal bars.
Photo Caption: Bayer could face years of legal action in the United States after its acquisition of Roundup manufacturer Monsanto
Photo Credit: Flickr
The post Bayer preparing for thousands of Roundup lawsuits appeared first on Hort News on 30 August 2018.
According to Reuters, a French environment official has confirmed that the country will oppose extending a licence for glyphosate at an EU level.
“France will vote against the reauthorisation of glyphosate due to the doubts that remain about its dangerousness,” the news agency reported. EU member states are due to vote on a licence extension on 4 October, but without French backing, renewal could be blocked. France and Germany have abstained in previous votes.
In May the European Commission proposed a ten-year extension to glyphosate’s licence after a study by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) said the chemical should not be classified as a carcinogen.
Sarah Mukherjee, of the Crop Protection Association, commented, “These reported comments are at odds with the robust body of scientific evidence and the opinion of expert regulators around the world, backed by 40 years of use, which clearly demonstrate that glyphosate is safe. The loss of this vital tool would not only impact on the ability of farmers to provide healthy, safe and affordable food, but also have unintended environmental consequences through limiting farmers’ ability to use no till methods.” Studies suggest that the loss of glyphosate would cost the French economy between £850 and 930 million in terms of GDP.
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According to Bloomberg and other sources, the European Commission may be preparing to recommend a 10-year extension to the approval of glyphosate.
Most famous as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, off-patent herbicide glyphosate has recently been targeted by environmental and health campaigners, as well as the Soil Association, who cite studies which show that it can be carcinogenic and that it is frequently found in people’s urine.
Authorisation officially ended in the EU in mid-2016, when the Commission gave the chemical an 18 month stay of execution, after EU legislators failed to come to a decision on its future.
In the meantime the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has published an opinion that glyphosate is not a likely human carcinogen, but others cite a 2015 opinion from the World Health Organisation’s cancer research arm IARC, which said the herbicide is ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’.
According to an un-named Commission spokesperson, in light of ECHA’s findings, the EU Commission is set to recommend reauthorisation of glyphosate for a ten year period (shorter than the full 15 years which was previously on the table) in upcoming meetings with EU Member State representatives, according to Bloomberg.
Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett commented, “Whatever the EU decision on the overall authorisation of glyphosate, there is no excuse for the UK government’s continuing failure to introduce a ban on the use of glyphosate in public places such as playgrounds and parks and to end its use pre-harvest.”
Photo Credit: Pixabay
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On Friday (24 June) the European Appeals Committee failed to reach a qualified majority on proposals to extend the approval of glyphosate for the next 15 years.
Following the split vote the decision passed to the European Commission, with EU health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis confirming an 18-month extension to the licence for glyphosate on Tuesday (28 June). The 18 month license has been proposed by the Commission as a temporary measure pending the publication of further research.
Nick von Westenholz, CPA CEO commented, “It is disappointing that Member States have forced the Commission into this position by ignoring the science and advice of expert regulators. The indecision of Member States and the need for an extension demonstrates how politicised this process has become. Nevertheless, it will be a relief to farmers that they will be able to continue to use this crucial tool, at least in the short-term.
“We urge Member States to take the sensible, science led decision to re-licence this safe, efficient and effective product for the full 15 year period once the 18 month extension has expired. Failure to re-license glyphosate would be contrary to the science, provide no benefit to human health, wildlife or the environment and at the same time remove one of the key tools our farmers need to produce a safe, healthy, reliable and affordable supply of food.”
The post Commissions agrees glyphosate approval for 18 months appeared first on Hort News on 29 June 2016.
Just ahead of the latest EU vote on the approval of glyphosate, UN scientists have said that the herbicide is ‘unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans.’
The finding comes from the UN’s Joint Meeting on Pesticides Residues (JMPR) and contradicts an opinion from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) specialist cancer research agency IARC, which classified glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ last year. The JMPR included experts from the WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
According to JMPR scientists, ‘Overall, there is some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of NHL [Non-Hodgkin lymphoma – a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system],’ but pointed out that results of the only large-scale study showed no link. Most of the evidence for a link to cancer comes from some, but not all, studies on rodents: ‘In view of the absence of carcinogenic potential in rodents at human-relevant doses and the absence of genotoxicity by the oral route in mammals, and considering the epidemiological evidence from occupational exposures, the meeting concluded that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet.’ Glyphosate is also ‘unlikely to be genotoxic at anticipated dietary exposures.’
The group recommended that the acceptable daily intake limit (ADI) for glyphosate should remain at 0-1mg per kilo of body weight, the current level. Last year’s recommendation by EFSA to increase the glyphosate residue threshold from 0.3mg to 0.5 mg/kg is still within these limits.
Photo credit: 123RF – Hans Slegers
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Updated guidelines from the Weed Resistance Action Group (WRAG) have been published by AHDB in response to the ‘real risks’ of glyphosate resistance developing in UK weeds.
While there are currently no known cases of glyphosate resistance in UK weeds, the guidelines build on global experience to help growers maintain the effectiveness of glyphosate as a weed control option.
Glyphosate has been around for 40 years and has become one of the most frequently used herbicides across UK crop production, partly due to increasing resistance to selective herbicides and the loss of other herbicide products.
James Clarke, WRAG Chair and Science and Business Development Manager at ADAS, warned, “A number of high-risk practices are being increasingly deployed on UK farms which could drive the evolution of glyphosate resistance in UK weeds – including multiple glyphosate applications, sub-lethal doses and suboptimal application timing – and we wanted to be proactive in highlighting the risks and promoting best practice.”
The new Minimising the risk of glyphosate resistance guidelines includes four simple and key messages, supported by more detailed evidence and guidance:
1. Prevent survivors: Avoid repeat applications to surviving plants
2. Maximise efficacy: Apply the right dose rate (reduced rates increase the risk of reduced efficacy), at the right timing, in the right conditions
3. Use alternatives: Use non-chemical options (such as cultivation), where practical, and use other herbicides in sequence
4. Monitor success: Remove survivors and report potential resistance issues to your advisor and/or the product manufacturer.
A two-page summary of the guidelines (AHDB Information Sheet 03) is available from the AHDB website and a full version of the guidelines is available to download from the WRAG website.
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