Monsanto wants California to drop expensive labeling regs on herbicides

Tim Pearce, DCNF

A free market legal group joined Monsanto Co. Tuesday in the company’s legal battle to free glyphosate, an ingredient in a popular herbicide, from regulations under California’s Proposition 65 labeling law.

Monsanto Co. is often at the heart of controversy. Image: Shutterstock.

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) asked the California Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court decision that upheld the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) decision to list glyphosate as “known to the state to cause cancer.” OEHHA’s decision subjects Monsanto’s decades-old herbicide Roundup, which contains glyphosate, to strict labeling laws, according to a WLF press release.

“Glyphosate is a safe, environmentally sustainable and cost-effective tool for farmers,” Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy Scott Partridge said in a statement after Monsanto initially appealed the trial court decision last week. “This labeling requirement would do nothing more than compel false warnings about a safe product and unnecessarily increase food prices for consumers.”

California listed glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical based on a 2015 ruling by World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The organization determined glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic,” Reuters reports.

The IARC was criticized by farm industry groups for the decision. The evidence that glyphosate caused cancer in humans was limited, and conflicted with a report by the Agricultural Health Study, the Scientific American reports.

Stronger evidence that the chemical caused cancer in mice was sufficient for the listing, however, according to the Scientific American.

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