Monsanto's Roundup faces European politics

Monsanto's Roundup faces European politics
By Stefan Grobe
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An organic farm in eastern Belgium.

Its owner aims at cultivating the land in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of mechanical weeding and crop rotation.

In other words, he forgoes the widely-used herbicide Roundup based on glyphosate and suspected of being carcinogenic.

Why? Quentin Goffinet says he is more interested in good quality than in business.

“The work of farmers and all their production has long been trivialized”, he says. “So, inevitably, for big companies, it is more financial products rather than real food that serve to feed people.”

Despite organic farming, Roundup has become the flagship weedkiller of US chemical giant Monsanto. But…

“The EU is weighing whether to allow the continued use of products that contain Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in its 28 nations”, says Euronews correspondent Isabel Marques da Silva. “At a European Parliament hearing, experts exchanged views.”

But Monsanto refused to participate in the hearing, accusing members of Parliament of politicising a scientific procedure which has been “hijacked by populism”.

At the hearing, two opinions emerged. One was voiced by Dr. Kate Guyton, a cancer specialist at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“There was limited evidence of cancer in humans, there was sufficient evidence of cancer in animals and there was strong evidence for mechanisms that we know to be associated with carcinogenes and; overhall, this led the working group to classify glyphosate in the group of probably carginogenic to humans”.

And there was the opposing view – from Dr. Jose Tarazona from the European Food Safety Agency.

“The active substance glyphosate does not require classification for carcinogenicity. By the way, it is important to mention that all regulartory agencies following us in Canada, Japan, New Zeland, have confirmed this”.

Right now, there is no clear majority of EU countries for or against a license extension.

A final decision has to be made by the end of the year.

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