Win for glyphosate in the US but problems on the consumer front

Win for glyphosate in the US but problems on the consumer front

Grains
Glyphosate backers have had a win on the regulatory front with the US EPA declaring the product safe but still have to battle increased negative sentiment from consumers.

Glyphosate backers have had a win on the regulatory front with the US EPA declaring the product safe but still have to battle increased negative sentiment from consumers.

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UPDATED: The US Environmental Protection Agency has declared glyphosate safe for use after completing a review into usage of the herbicide.

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SUPPORTERS of the continued usage of the herbicide glyphosate have had an important win in the United States last week.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed its review into the safety of glyphosate and found it was safe and that it did not cause cancer.

However, while there was good news on the regulatory front elsewhere there was another sign of the increasing consumer backlash against the product.

Reports from North America have highlighted the quiet push by breakfast cereal giant Kellogg's to stop buying grain that has been crop-topped with glyphosate.

It has a commitment in place to phase out the purchase of wheat and oats that have been desiccated with glyphosate.

This applies not only to North America but to Kellogg's operations in Europe and Australia.

Crop-topping of wheat with glyphosate is allowed in Australia but it is not standard practice apart from in paddocks with intensive weed burdens.

The late season application of glyphosate is more designed to suppress late weeds rather than hastening ripening as it is in cooler climates where farmers need to finish harvest before it gets too cold.

Glyphosate use has been an enormously controversial subject in the past few years, with several nations banning the use of the herbicide and Bayer, the manufacturer of the most well-known glyphosate-based product, Roundup, forced to pay out millions in damages after courts found it was responsible for causing cancer.

The EPA finding backs up what other regulators, such as the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) have had to say about glyphosate.

"EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen," the agency said in a statement.

Bayer was predictably delighted with the finding, which may be beneficial when it comes to arguing its point in other cases before the courts across the US.

Liam Condon, the president of Bayer's Crop Science division said it was another study that showed glyphosate was safe.

"EPA's latest decision on glyphosate-based herbicides adds to the long-term evaluation of leading international health authorities that these products can be used safely, and that glyphosate is not carcinogenic," Mr Condon said.

"Glyphosate-based herbicides are one of the most thoroughly studied products of their kind."

The EPA has said a cancer warning on labels for glyphosate-based products would be false and misleading based on its scientific assessment.

However, groups opposing the use of the product have hit out at the decision saying the agency has close links to Bayer and previously Monsanto, the company Bayer bought out in 2018.

The story Win for glyphosate in the US but problems on the consumer front first appeared on Farm Online.

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