Update: Monsanto provided the following statement: "Regulators around the world, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the State of California itself, have determined that glyphosate does not cause cancer. The agency’s flawed and baseless proposal to list glyphosate under Proposition 65 not only contradicts California’s own scientific assessment, but it also violates the California and U.S. Constitutions. Monsanto will continue to challenge this unfounded proposed ruling on the basis of science and the law."
- A California judge tentatively ruled that Monsanto must label its Roundup weed killer as a possible cancer threat, even though the company asserts it poses no risk to people, according to CBS Sacramento.
Monsanto had sued California, the nation’s leading agricultural state, claiming officials illegally based the decision for carrying the warnings on an unreliable international health organization based in France.
- The concern over Roundup derives from its main ingredient, glyphosate, which has no color or smell. It is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but it is recommended that people avoid entering a field for 12 hours after it has been applied.
Roundup is currently being used on more than 250 different crops grown in the state of California, so if the tentative ruling that it must label it as a risk for cancer stands, it could have dire consequences for the company.
What’s more, once consumers learn about this — and with the speed of news on social media today, it won’t take long — farmers may need to stop using the weed killer or risk shopper rejection of produce and products that use produce grown with the substance. This could wreak major havoc on the industry as it is now.
Stories about potential health problems with Roundup have appeared in mainstream publications for years, so the issue has already been playing on consumer fears. But the Environmental Protection Agency has put time and effort into getting to the bottom of these carcinogenic claims, and has found the evidence inconclusive.
Farmers have been using Roundup since it was introduced in 1974 as a viable way to kill weeds without damaging crops.
Last year, the Food and Drug Administration reported glyphosate residues in samples of honey and oatmeal instant cereals. A study from Food Democracy Now and The Detox Project detected glyphosate residues in many of popular food products, including cookies, crackers, cereals and chips — which Monsanto dismissed as a "scare tactic." FDA recently gave 99% of U.S. agricultural products a clean bill of health in a report on pesticide contaminants — but it did not look for glyphosate.