Over the weekend, French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal made comments about the sale of Roundup® lawn and garden products to French consumers that were widely misreported by media in several countries.
Contrary to widespread media coverage, Ms. Royal did not propose a ban on the sale of Roundup to French consumers. She proposed restricting it to behind-the-counter sales—a system that already exists in several other European countries including Germany. Furthermore, she proposed this in the context of a law that would apply to all pesticides sold in the country, not just Roundup.
Monsanto was surprised by Ms. Royal’s decision to single out Monsanto’s Roundup®-brand weed killer by name, since it is just one 180 different glyphosate-based weed killers sold to gardeners and farmers in France and other countries.
As of today there is no new or recent scientific data that has given European regulators reason to question the current authorisation or sales conditions of Roundup in Europe. Monsanto and other producers of glyphosate-branded products continue to work with the competent regulatory authorities to ensure the decennial renewal for glyphosate in the European Union (EU). Glyphosate was last renewed for sale within the EU in 2002.
The renewal of the authorisation for glyphosate is conducted at the European level every 10 years on the basis of the exhaustive corpus of all available data and new scientific research, including a recent assessment of glyphosate by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organisation. The current renewal process was led by Germany, which reaffirmed the safety of the substance in early 2015 in its report to the European Union. The German report is now subject to review by the European Food Safety Authority before a final decision by the European Commission.
“Monsanto is confident in the quality of the products that we offer to gardeners and which have been specifically designed for a safe use by consumers,” said Ralph Dyrnes, commercial lead for Monsanto’s international Lawn & Garden products business. “When used according to the recommendations on the packaging, the product does not pose any specific risks to the user.”
Furthermore, he said, Monsanto and Roundup have been actively promoting good practices for gardeners for more than 20 years. This is about using the right product (formula: in concentrated form or ready-to-use mixture) at the right place at the right time (season and weather conditions: for instance, always favour a clear day with no wind to avoid undesired drift and run-off) with the right equipment (sprayer). All of this information is widely circulated and brought to consumers’ attention, both at the point of sale and on specialised websites which propose appropriate solutions combining various alternatives including chemical weed killers, manual weeding, changing the garden layout, etc.
Like all the active substances authorised for use in pesticides in Europe, glyphosate is subject to a strict regulatory process prior to being put on sale. A similar approval process applies to formulated products (e.g. including the active substance plus any additives).
For further information about Roundup, glyphosate and the recent IARC report please see www.roundup.eu,www.glyphosate.eu and http://www.monsanto.com/iarc-roundup/pages/default.aspx.