American agricultural giant Monsanto thought it was on a glide path to EU renewal of its controversial weedkiller Roundup.
It was wrong.
Advocacy groups seized on a routine World Health Organization report from last year, which connected Roundup’s active ingredient glyphosate to cancer, to inflame politicians. They generated enough outcry to prompt key players, including Germany and France, to publicly back away from what the industry and the European Commission thought would be a no-hassle vote after food safety officials declared in November that the pesticide is safe to use across Europe, as it has been for decades.
Those NGOs and their backers are declaring victory this week following a vote on the chemical’s future that ended in a deadlock. The Commission is scrambling to figure out how to keep Europe’s most widely used herbicide on the market after June 30, when its license expires. The panel could face a raft of lawsuits from agriculture heavyweights if it fails to pass an extension.
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