The East London Garden Society

Monsanto’s ’Roundup’ banned by France

After an arm of the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) identified the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular weed killer ‘Roundup’ as probably carcinogenic to humans, France has taken a step to limit sales of the herbicide.

French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal has announced that the government would ban the sale of ‘Roundup’ at garden centres in the country.

“France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides” Royal said on French television, according to Agence France‐Presse. “I have asked garden centres to stop putting Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’ on sale in self-service aisles”, she said.

In March, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, as a probable carcinogen. Monsanto however, disputed the finding and its chief technology officer, Robert Fraley said in a statement that “This result was reached by selective ‘cherry picking’ of data and is a clear example of agenda driven bias.” Shortly after the WHO announcement, Patrick Moore who has an ecology PhD and is a controversial defender of genetically modified crops, offered to drink ‘Roundup’ on French television to prove its safety but when a TV host offered him a glass of the stuff, Moore refused and the video of the exchange quickly went viral online.

‘Roundup’ and generic versions of glyphosate are still the most widely used herbicides in the world amongst farmers and municipalities alike. As of 2012 it was the top choice of New York City for killing weeds in its parks. Farmers like ‘Roundup’ because ‘Roundup Ready’ versions of crops like corn and soybeans have been modified to specifically tolerate the herbicide, allowing growers to spray Roundup widely across their fields without damaging their crops.