Monsanto fined in French court for 'false' herbicide ads
The US agrochemical giant Monsanto was fined 15,000 euros (19,000 dollars) in a French court for misleading the public about the environmental impact of its flagship herbicide Roundup. A former chairman of Monsanto Agriculture France was found guilty of false advertising for presenting Roundup as biodegradable and claiming that it left the soil clean after use. Monsanto's French distributor Scotts France was also fined 15,000 euros.
Environmental and consumer rights campaigners brought the case in 2001 on the basis that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, is classed as "dangerous for the environment" and "toxic for aquatic organisms" by the European Union. Both defendants were ordered to pay damages of 5,000 euros to the Brittany Water and Rivers association and 3,000 euros to the CLCV consumers group.
The water association said the verdict, which is to be published in the influential Le Monde daily, "puts an end to Monsanto's lies" and was "excellent news for water protection". A spokesman for Monsanto France, which plans to appeal, said the "verdict does not call into question the usefulness of the Roundup range of products". "There is a relationship of trust between our products and their users and we believe that consumers will continue to use Roundup."