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Federal judge halts California’s Prop 65 labeling of glyphosate


Citing harm to the nation’s agriculture economy, Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting California from implementing its “false and misleading” Prop 65 labeling requirement for the herbicide glyphosate. The injunction was sought by more than a dozen leading agriculture groups and supported by eleven attorneys general across the U.S.

The preliminary injunction will halt California’s labeling requirement until a final ruling on the matter is issued by the court.

California is notorious for its strict labeling laws, which have seen labels added to a variety of products, such as matches, aloe vera, soda pop, and Christmas lights. Despite scientific findings from hundreds of peer-reviewed studies and conclusions by the EPA, the National Institutes of Health, and regulatory agencies around the world that glyphosate is safe for use, California went ahead and added it to the state’s Prop 65 list. 

Currently, glyphosate is approved for application in over 250 agricultural crops throughout the United States, so the restrictions were being felt by farmers in California.

“Farmers work tirelessly to put food on America’s tables, and Glyphosate is a vital tool that growers have trusted to provide safe, affordable food,” said Chandler Goule, Chief Executive Officer for the National Wheat Growers Association, the lead plaintiff in the case. “Every regulatory body in the world that has reviewed glyphosate has found it safe for use and no available product matches glyphosate with a comparable health and environmental safety profile. We are pleased Judge Stubb granted our request, which is the first step in our efforts to prevent California from forcing farmers, growers and manufacturers to place false and misleading labels on agricultural products. California’s erroneous Prop 65 listing of glyphosate is not based on data, facts or science and we look forward to continuing to make our case to the court.”

Judge Shubb made the following statements when issuing his ruling granting the agriculture coalition’s request for a preliminary junction:

“As applied to glyphosate, the required warnings are false and misleading. Plaintiffs have thus established a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the warning requirement violates their First Amendment rights. …

“[Given] the heavy weight of evidence in the record that glyphosate is not in fact known to cause cancer, the required warning is factually inaccurate and controversial.”

Though typically associated in the public’s eye with Monsanto and its Roundup line of products, glyphosate has been off-patent since 2000 and is made by multiple companies.

The plaintiffs in the California case include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the Agricultural Retailers Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association.

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