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French Court cancels approval for Roundup Pro 360

The French Administrative Court in Lyon has cancelled the approval for Bayer legacy company Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup Pro 360 (glyphosate).

The French Administrative Court in Lyon has cancelled the approval for Bayer legacy company Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup Pro 360 (glyphosate). The decision was taken on a case brought by the French NGO, the Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN).

The Court found that the French food safety agency, the Anses, had made an error of assessment with regard to the precautionary principle by authorising the product on March 6th 2017. The Anses had argued before the administrative courts that Roundup Pro 360 had a composition “strictly identical” to the herbicide, Typhon, marketed by ChemChina subsidiary Adama and authorised in France since 1996. The Court dismissed the argument, saying that the carcinogenicity of Typhon had not been studied in the opinion of the agency. It pointed to the opinion of the Anses that because of its composition containing glyphosate and quaternary ammonium, Typhon had a greater toxicity than glyphosate itself and required the classification of “toxic to aquatic organisms”. The Court concluded that, consequently, Roundup Pro 360 is also significantly more toxic than glyphosate.

Pointing to the classification by the UN WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic, the judges felt that Roundup Pro 360 should “be considered as a substance whose carcinogenic potential for humans is assumed”.

Bayer’s reaction

Bayer disagrees with the decision, pointing out that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2015 concluded that the classification of glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” by the IARC was not justified. “We believe that the extensive body of science, 40 years of real world experience and the conclusions of regulators, including the US EPA, EFSA, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), German BfR, and Australian, Canadian, Korean, New Zealand and Japanese regulatory authorities, as well as the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) confirm that glyphosate‐based products are safe when used as directed and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic.”

The company is reviewing the decision and considering its legal options.

CRIIGEN

CRIIGEN is the organisation whose researcher, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini, came out with the controversial study in 2012 claiming that exposure to glyphosate and Monsanto’s genetically modified glyphosate-tolerant NK603 maize at levels considered safe to humans could cause tumours and multiple organ damage in laboratory rats. The study’s conclusions were subsequently rejected by the EFSA and several national regulators as being scientifically unsound and was later retracted by the publisher in whose journal it was published.

Glyphosate phase out in France

In November, France’s Ministers of Agriculture and of Ecology confirmed their intention of achieving the goal set by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, of phasing out the main uses of glyphosate within three years. But before that, in September, the National Assembly rejected a move to write into law a ban on glyphosate within three years. That was the second time such an attempt to include the provision in the country’s Agriculture and Food Bill had failed within the Assembly, the previous attempt having failed in May.
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