French beekeepers’ union is suing Monsanto after finding glyphosate in its honey
A cooperative of beekeepers in Northern France filed a legal complaint against Monsanto June 7, the same day the company was acquired by the German chemical giant Bayer, after finding the company’s infamous weedkiller in their honey.
One of France’s largest honey companies, Famille Michaud, found the chemical in three batches of honey supplied by a member of a 200-member beekeeping union.
“They systematically analyze the honey shipments they receive, and they found glyphosate,” head of the beekeeping union Jean-Marie Camus told Agence France Presse.
“We regularly detect foreign substances, including glyphosate,” Vincent Michaud, president of Famille Michaud told AFP.
If glyphosate is found, the supplier’s entire shipment is rejected, Michaud said.
The supplier of the tainted honey lives near a field of rapeseed, beets and sunflowers, where RoundUp is likely used, Emmanuel Ludot, a lawyer for the cooperative, explained to AFP.
“But you also can’t forget the weekend gardeners who often tend to use Roundup,” he added.
The beekeepers’ union hopes their action will prompt an investigation to determine the percentage of glyphosate in their honey and whether it could lead to any health problems.
“It’s also a matter of knowing how widespread this might be — Famille Michaud tells me this isn’t an isolated case,” Ludot said.
The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as “probable carcinogen.”
The European Union member states voted to renew the license for RoundUp for five years. French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has vowed to ban glyphosate within three years.
Bayer told French publication Le Figaro that it was informed about the legal complaint by the press and “no judicial information has been notified to date.”
Monsanto faces more than 2,000 lawsuits in the U.S. alone over Roundup cancer claims.
German newspaper Handelsblatt Global noted, “Bayer is pointing to studies that suggest glyphosate is safe, but this will likely not spare Monsanto, and therefore Bayer, incalculable costs in terms of financial resources and time spent on legal proceedings.”
The FDA found glyphosate in U.S. honey in 2016, but American beekeepers haven’t yet taken legal action.
Bayer, who now owns Monsanto and the liabilities surrounding it, plans to drop the company’s infamous name, but maintain product names like RoundUp.