Glyphosate fear is generated by activists not garden centre consumers

Activists rather than consumers are pressurising German retailers to de-list glyphosate products, says Monsanto.

A survey by Greenpeace in Germany says eight of the largest retailers selling herbicides and pesticides have taken steps to voluntarily remove neonicotinoid and/or glyphosate-based products from their shelves.

Natural controls company Neudorff claimed consumer pressure was pushing retailers to take action.

Roundup consumer business director Gary Philpotts said activists like Greenpeace have been successful in creating fear in retailers - but not consumers.

He added: "Retailers in Germany and Switzerland have been convinced by activists that most of their customers are upset that glyphosate is offered for sale by them, but this is frankly not the case. Roundup commissioned a study to understand how many consumers in Germany were really hearing the noise created by the activists. We selected Germany as there has been an unprecedented negative media campaign against glyphosate and specifically Roundup. The results of the survey from November 2015, were surprisingly encouraging. When 300 German garden owners were asked 'Have you recently heard anything about Roundup in the media, but outside of advertising?', only 15 per cent said yes. Also, of those aware of Roundup, only 10 per cent knew that glyphosate was the active.

"It’s clear that consumers are not driving this 'de-listing' by retailers, it is driven by the activists generating fear in the minds of retailers.

"UK retailers need to be aware that consumers are either not really hearing this conversation, or are hearing some of it but understand how to use chemicals responsibly and safely around their homes. They already do this with many other products."

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic". But this view is not shared by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, nor the European Food Safety Authority, which found glyphosate is "unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans".

In April, environment committee MEPs said glyphosate should not be approved for use in or close to public parks, public playgrounds, public gardens or home use. They recommended glyphosate re-registration for a further seven years.

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food & Feed will vote to adopt the commission proposal (that glyphosate be relicensed) by qualified majority at its meeting on 18-19 May.

Meanwhile, corporate accountability group SumOfUs will deliver a petition to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s office on May 17, urging his government to instruct officials representing the Netherlands to vote "no" against a license allowing the usage of the pesticide glyphosate throughout Europe.

UK minister Lord Gardiner said he could not answer whether the the UK will support the proposal in a response to a question in the Lords.


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