The Monsanto company is still reeling from a spring 2015 declaration by the World Health Organization that its flagship product Roundup is a “probable human carcinogen.”
Now, the company’s image, and the image of its top-selling product, have taken yet another hit, this time in the United States.
In California, where organic farming and healthy living has gained a huge foothold, the company’s flagship product Roundup will now be labeled in similar fashion to the WHO ruling — with a label stating that it is a possible cancer threat.
Monsanto Defense Team Denied
According to this report from the Associated Press out of Fresno, CA where the court proceedings took place, Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued on Friday that the potential warning label would have direct financial consequences for the company.
“It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,” he said according to the report, which can be read in full by clicking here, adding that consumers would likely see the labels and stop buying Roundup. The firm also said that it will challenge the ruling.
Glyphosate is not restricted by the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency because it has “low toxicity” according to the organization. However, critics say that the agency relies too heavily on studies that are funded by, or have strong ties to, the industry or Monsanto itself.
The EPA’s main recommendation for the chemical is to avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied, according to the AP report.
Roundup includes the chemical glyphosate as its main component along with other chemicals. It is sold in more than 160 countries and is used on hundreds of different crops in California and across the United States. Monsanto, which has headquarters near St. Louis, MO and is likely to merge with the massive German agrochemical and drug corporation Bayer, also genetically engineers crops in its laboratories to withstand large sprayings of the chemical.
The main GE crops desgined to withstand it include corn, soy, canola, sugar beets and cotton among others.
Monsanto said that California is delegating its authority to an “unelected foreign body with no accountability to U.S. or state officials” and that its ruling violates the state’s constitution.
According to the AP article, the state of California’s attorneys consider the International Agency for Research on Cancer to be the “gold standard” for identifying carcinogens, and other states also rely on their findings to make similar determinations.
A formal decision is likely to come soon, but the ruling is expected to stand. For more on the ruling, check out the full article by clicking here.