Quantcast

Monsanto Sued for 'Misleading' Roundup Labeling

GMO
Monsanto's herbicide Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the United States. Photo credit: Flickr

Monsanto is staring down yet another lawsuit over its glyphosate-based product, Roundup.

Two nonprofit groups allege that the agribusiness giant intentionally mislabels its weedkiller as "target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets." The lawsuit charges that Monsanto's statement is "false, deceptive and misleading" because the enzyme targeted by glyphosate "in fact, is found in people and pets."


Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association, through their attorneys at Richman Law Group, filed the lawsuit in Washington, DC, court on Friday under the District of Columbia's Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The case is Beyond Pesticides et al v Monsanto Co. et al.

"Monsanto aggressively markets Roundup as safe for humans and animals, despite newer studies indicating that glyphosate may be carcinogenic and affect human and animal cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems," the complaint states.

"Reasonable consumers must and do rely on Monsanto to report honestly Roundup's effects on humans and animals and whether the enzyme it targets is found in people and pets," it says. "No reasonable consumer seeing these representations would expect that Roundup targets a bacterial enzyme that is found in humans and animals and that affects their immune health."

The plaintiffs claim that Monsanto knows its representations are false but profited monetarily off Roundup anyway.

"Monsanto is aware of how glyphosate works on the shikimate pathway, and ... is aware of studies showing that the shikimate pathway is present in bacteria integral to the digestive systems of people and pets. Monsanto therefore knows that glyphosate targets an enzyme present not only in plants, but also in people and pets," the complaint states.

"By deceiving consumers about the nature and effects of Roundup, Monsanto is able to sell a greater volume of Roundup, and to command a higher price for Roundup," it says.

The groups are seeking equitable relief on behalf of the general public, with all profits earned by Monsanto for sales of Roundup in DC to be deposited into a charitable fund for the raising of consumer awareness of the effects of glyphosate.

Glyphosate has been at the center of many recent controversies. The chemical was recently added to California's Proposition 65 list of cancer-causing agents. And in a separate Roundup lawsuit, court documents suggest that Monsanto may have ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics to cover up the alleged cancer risks of glyphosate. Further, the documents suggest that a senior official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may have worked on the company's behalf to quash reviews of the chemical.

Independent studies have detected glyphosate residues in commonly consumed foods such as cookies, crackers, popular cold cereals and chips. Another study found trace amounts of the herbicide in evaluated brands of cat and dog foods, including Purina, Friskies, Iams, 9 Lives, Kibbles 'n Bits and Rachael Ray.

Monsanto has long maintained the safety of its product and adamantly denies that it causes cancer.

But Jay Feldman, the executive director of Beyond Pesticides, said "Monsanto is falsely telling the public that its product cannot hurt them."

Ronnie Cummins, the Organic Consumers Association's international director, added, "For decades, Monsanto has used false labeling claims to dupe consumers into believing that they can spray Roundup on their yards and in their gardens, without risk to themselves, their children or their pets. It's time for the courts to step in."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

It's become a familiar story with the Trump administration: Scientists write a report that shows the administration's policies will cause environmental damage, then the administration buries the report and fires the scientists.

Read More Show Less
Valerie / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A coalition of some of the largest environmental groups in the country joined forces to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Trump administration's maneuver to weaken the Endangered Species Act.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
beyond foto / Getty Images

By Kimberly Holland

Children who eat a lot of gluten in their earliest years may have an increased risk of developing celiac disease and gluten intolerance, according to a new study published in JAMATrusted Source.

Read More Show Less
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Jake Johnson

Calling the global climate crisis both the greatest threat facing the U.S. and the greatest opportunity for transformative change, Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled today a comprehensive Green New Deal proposal that would transition the U.S. economy to 100 percent renewable energy and create 20 million well-paying union jobs over a decade.

Read More Show Less
orientalizing / Flickr

The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.

Read More Show Less

Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is giving President Trump a run for his money in the alternative facts department.

Read More Show Less
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2019 State of the State address on Jan. 15. Governor Jay and First Lady Trudi Inslee / Flickr

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who made solving the climate crisis the center of his presidential campaign, is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic primary race.

Read More Show Less