October 18, 2017
Our response to the film “Roundup facing its judges” on Arte

Monsanto wishes to respond to the documentary “Roundup facing its judges” directed by activist Marie-Monique Robin. Broadcast yesterday on Arte channel, the film establishes false relations between the herbicide sold by Monsanto and a global health scare in an effort to stigmatise public opinion based on unsubstantiated theories and testimonies playing with emotions, without bringing new factual or scientific evidence which has not already been contradicted.

This report recounts the parody of the mock trial that took place in October 2016, and whose biased opinion was delivered last April. On the subject, Monsanto published an open letter in response to the allegations made by these activists, who furthermore have no judicial authority on the matter. Monsanto would also like to call out the methods employed by Ms Robin, who claims a journalistic approach but often appears and engages with activists who are opposed to modern sustainable agriculture.

The chapter in the film concerning Argentina is an example of this disinformation. The authors use a dramatic and emotional depiction of sick individuals juxtaposed with scenes of agricultural field work and interviews of certain doctors and scientists while citing Roundup herbicide without any form of proof.

Another example of clear bias is when Ms Robin promotes the independent expertise of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), while placing doubt on the credibility of the EU regulatory authorities, suggesting they are influenced by industry. Yet it was recently revealed by the media Euractiv and Frankfurter Allgemeine that Dr Portier, who served as an advisor to the IARC working group on glyphosate, was paid a sum of $160,000 by U.S. lawyers representing plaintiffs in an ongoing litigation against Monsanto and glyphosate in the United States, which he himself describes as substantial.

As a reminder, in November 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that “it is unlikely that glyphosate … is a human carcinogenic threat. The experts did not propose that glyphosate be categorized as a carcinogen (…)”.

In 2016, ANSES, the French competent authority, reviewed the IARC classification and recommended deferring to the forthcoming evaluation by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), who then concluded in March 2017, following another robust evaluation, that glyphosate should not be classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reprotoxic (CMR). Finally, EFSA also concluded this past September that glyphosate did not possess the properties of an endocrine disruptor.

The film carefully avoids recalling the scientific findings of these authorities which are derived from abundant documented scientific evidence. We believe in science and in our products, and do not wish to be undermined once again by Ms Robin, who has created another biased documentary with no proven evidence.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is today one of the most extensively evaluated agricultural products in France and around the world. The rich scientific literature built over 40 years of use demonstrate that, when used accordingly, glyphosate does not present any unreasonable risk for users, public health or the environment. Our company always continues to invest in research and is committed to providing farmers safe solutions and quality products.


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