French minister seeks to put glyphosate products behind locked shelves

French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal says she wants glyphosate products removed from garden centre aisles.

"France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides," Royal said on French television.

"I have asked garden centres to stop putting Monsanto's Roundup on sale" [in self-service aisles], she added.

The move, planned for 2022, would see the product available from locked shelves.

Roundup's maker Monsanto suggested Royal was "jumping the gun" on ongoing research and discussions were also ongoing between the French industry, retailers and government.

The company questioned the legality of any ban when EU regulations have approved glyphosate for sale to consumers.

It said: "Glyphosate’s regulatory status is perfectly clear and as of today there is no new or recent scientific data that has given regulators pause to question its authorisation or sales conditions.

"Monsanto and other producers of glyphosate-branded products continue to work with the competent regulatory authorities to ensure the 10-year European renewal for glyphosate. Glyphosate was last renewed for sale within the EU in 2003.

"Monsanto is confident in the quality of the products that we offer to gardeners and which have been specifically designed for a safe usage at home. When used according to the recommendations on the packaging, the product does not pose any specific risks to the user.

"Furthermore, Monsanto and Roundup have been actively promoting good practices for gardeners for more than 20 years. This is about using the right product at the right place at the right time with the right equipment.

"All of this information is widely circulated and brought to consumers’ attention, both at the point of sale and on specialised websites which propose appropriate solutions combining various alternatives: chemical weed killers, manual weeding, changing the garden layout, etc."

It added:  "In France and uniquely in Europe, the sale of all plant protection products, whether natural or synthetic, to non-professional gardeners is subject to the approval of the EAJ label (Authorized for usage in gardens). Concretely, no product labeled toxic can be sold to non-professional gardeners. Roundup Garden products on sale in France have all been met the requirements of the EAJ label."

Royal has also suggested banning Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, saying it contributes to deforestation.

"We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil," Royal said.

"Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment," she explained.

Nutella, she said, should be made from "other ingredients".

Ferrero, the Italian chocolate group that makes Nutella, said it  had made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible manner.

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