Renewable Farming

Brazilian federal judge suspends use of glyphosate products

A federal judge in Brasilia ruled earlier this week that existing registrations of product containing glyphosate will be suspended in the next 30 days. The same court filing indicates that no new products containing glyphosate may be registered for use.

Aug 8, 2018  By Jerry Carlson — So far there’s no further word on appeals to stay the judge’s decision. Sustainable Pulse has a further report at this link.

Reuters reports a response from Monsanto claiming that glyphosate has proven safe for 40 years.

Most farm magazine websites haven’t noted the development yet. But Pro Farmer’s Brian Grete was alert as usual and checked with Brazilian consultant Michael Cordonnier, who has relayed first-hand crop developments to Pro Farmer for many years. Here’s an excerpt from Brian’s comments on the Pro Farmer website:

South American Consultant Dr. Michael Cordonnier gave us his perspective on the situation. Cordonnier says, “If this ruling holds, it is a really big deal for Brazilian producers with just over a month until they can start planting their 2018-19 soybean crop. There are not enough chemicals in Brazil to make up for Roundup if the ban on its use is upheld. But these types of situations happen all the time in Brazil and it’s not uncommon to see rulings like this reversed.”

He continues, “Even if the ruling is upheld, it is unenforceable. Who’s going to police the situation and the use of Roundup if farmers already have it on-farm? I could see the registration of new products being upheld, but there’s no way the Brazilian government would be able to limit use of the existing product.” 

Dr. Cordonnier’s wording of “existing product” is very significant. If court appeals are blocked and the ruling holds firm, corporations would face high risk of continuing to market Roundup and similar weedkillers. However, it’s likely that glyphosate would be smuggled in from nearby countries like Argentina. Years ago, when ag interests were trying to block planting of GMO soybeans in Brazil, seed was being smuggled in from neighboring nations which allowed plantings there. Adjoining Paraguay was a prime source, just across the virtually open border from the soybean-growing Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Either way, it’s one more signal that legal authorities are looking at a much broader spectrum of health-related evidence on glyphosate than just the studies long given by Monsanto to EPA.