June 7, 2016 — European Union (EU) nations have refused to extend a license for Monsanto’s weed-killer Roundup due to growing concern about the risk of cancer.
France and Germany say they will not approve new permits for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Seven member states abstained from voting, 20 member states approved renewal, and Malta voted against.
In February, glyphosate was found in German beer and organic panty liners sold in France. Tests have also found residues of the chemical in British bread and in the urine of people throughout Europe.
The proposal needs support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population to pass, according to The Guardian.
After twice failing to pass a 15-year renewal on the license, the EU offered 12- or 18-months extensions to give scientists more time to study the risk of cancer.
If a decision can’t be made by June 30, the license will automatically expire and Roundup could be recalled in Europe. It also raises the prospect of legal action by Monsanto.
The controversy comes amid a $62 billion takeover bid by Bayer, a company based in Germany, to take over Monsanto.
Monsanto is also facing a number of lawsuits involving people who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. One landmark case involves a California farmer who used no other herbicides on his farm.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) cancer-research agency declared Roundup a “probable human carcinogen.” The warnings were based on several studies published in the last decade, including three linking Roundup and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
However, last month a report from the WHO and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization concluded that Roundup was “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk” through food.
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