Missouri farm group among those suing California to keep 'safe' herbicide off warning labels

By Carrie Salls | Nov 20, 2017

ST. LOUIS — The top officer of Associated Industries of Missouri, one of several farm groups asking the State of California not to place carcinogen warning labels on products containing the pesticide glyphosate, said the product is safe for consumption.

“Science has proven glyphosate to be safe,” Ray McCarty, Associated Industries of Missouri president/CEO, recently told the St. Louis Record.

The lawsuit said glyphosate has been added to California’s Prop 65 warning list because one organization, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) said the widely used pesticide is “probably carcinogenic.”

Associated Industries of Missouri and the other lawsuit plaintiffs, including Monsanto Co., disagree with the IARC’s assessment of glyphosate.

“The IARC findings are an outlier,” McCarty said. “Many other organizations that have researched glyphosate have found it to be safe.”

McCarty said Associated Industries of Missouri represents many manufacturers across the state, and “the coalition fighting this labeling requirement is a very broad coalition that includes organizations like ours as well as agricultural interests and others.”

“Part of the problem with the Prop 65 labeling requirement is that it would unreasonably require manufacturers to know which of their products were going to be sold in California so they could comply with the labeling requirement,” McCarty said. “They are also required to put a warning on their label with which they do not agree.”

McCarty said the aim of the lawsuit is “to relieve producers of glyphosate and food products that may contain trace amounts of glyphosate from the labeling requirements under Prop 65, and such other relief as the courts may grant.”

He said the decision ultimately rests with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, where the lawsuit was filed on Nov. 15, and “we cannot speculate on the form of that relief at this time.”

In addition to Associated Industries of Missouri and Monsanto, the plaintiffs include National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, United States Durum Growers Association, Western Plant Health Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Agribusiness Association of Iowa.

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