In the United States and Brazil, Monsanto sells genetically modified glyphosate-resistant corn and soybean seeds.
Unfortunately the herbicide glyphosate may present health problems. The majority of the European Commission decided against a compromise set forth by an EU executive that allowed the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) 12-18 months to investigate the carcinogenic concerns.
This means Roundup and similar weed-killers could be phased out by the EU nations. This is unsurprising, given the current controversy between EU and U.S. politicians, regulators, scientists, and the public.
Monsanto relies on Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) claims that glyphosate may not pose a health risk under normal exposure conditions, in addition to the finding by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that assessed the possibility of cancer-causing agents on a broad scale, and not on typical exposure levels.
The proposal failed to receive the majority support needed of the total EU population. Malta denied support of the proposal while seven EU states abstained and 20 states offered support. The proposal can still be submitted to an appeal committee for review within a month.
The European Commission may end up utilizing their personal proposal if a decision is not made by the appeal committee. Monsanto will appeal should the approval stage stretch past June 30.
The EU refusal may impact regulations on other agricultural products. It would also put a dent in Monsanto’s Roundup earnings by $100 million. The controversy surrounding the absorption of such chemicals in corn and soybean seeds continues to flare. New findings on whether the chemicals could cause cancer through normal exposure levels remain to be seen.