France`s highest court has ruled that Monsanto lied about the safety of its weed killing herbicide Roundup. The decision came just days ago and confirms an earlier court judgment in France finding that Monsanto had falsely advertised Roundup as being “biodegradable” and that it “left the soil clean.”
The original case was brought to court in 2001 by several French environmental groups alleging that Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, has a classification as “dangerous to the environment” by the European Union. That case drug on for years and finally ended in a ruling against Monsanto in 2007.
The GMO giant quickly appealed and that appeal was heard in 2008 in the Lyon court. Monsanto lost that case as well. They appealed again. This time it went to France’s Supreme Court; it lost that hearing and now faces fines and nowhere else to go for further appeals.
The court levied a 13,800 Euro fine against the company (about $22,400USD). Monsanto is also looking at continued losses with fourth quarter losses of $233 million (US), mostly due to plummeting sales of the Roundup brand. So far, Monsanto has made no public statement about the court`s ruling, but it is also possible that the ruling could mean civil cases from farmers and communities harmed by the false advertising. That could mean millions of dollars more in losses.
Roundup is the world`s best-selling herbicide and is marketed as a weed-killer to both commercial farmers and home owners. Monsanto is also the world`s largest purveyor of genetically modified seeds (GMO seeds). Often, the seeds are sold in conjunction with Roundup, the seeds being modified to be “herbicide tolerant” (HT-ready).
Some have argued that these GM crops and seeds are worse for the environment and could be a real problem. Crop failures of GMO seeds in Africa have highlighted the lack of a crop diversity issue while other studies have found that GM versus non-GM seeds have little or no bearing on higher yields, as seed companies like Monsanto have claimed.
Currently, in the United States, nearly all of our soybean plants and most of our corn crops are now GMO, and most of the seed crops for those plants are Monsanto-owned. In fact, at least 68% of corn and 90% of soy is a GMO (HT-ready) crop in the U.S. now and Monsanto is working hard to make that a fact worldwide.
Recent decisions, such as this one in France and a court finding in the U.S. earlier this month, as well as a common blockade in many European countries, are pushing back against the Monsanto takeover of our food crops. Other initiatives, such as Shelly Roche`s “Replace Roundup Challenge,” are using consumer boycotts to further take it to Monsanto`s pocketbook.
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