Monsanto loses final appeal over French farmer’s weedkiller accident

In this news, we discuss the Monsanto loses final appeal over French farmer’s weedkiller accident.

PARIS (Reuters) – Bayer’s BAYGn.DE Monsanto division on Wednesday lost a final call in a long-standing legal battle in France in which the agricultural chemicals maker was held responsible for the accidental inhalation of a weedkiller by a farmer.

Monsanto had tried to overturn a decision of an appeals court in 2019 that ruled that information on the safety of the company’s products was insufficient in relation to the accident involving farmer Paul François in 2004.

France’s highest court dismissed Monsanto’s latest appeal in a decision released Wednesday, paving the way for another court to decide on damages to be awarded to Francois.

The farmer claimed that the fumes he inhaled from the Lasso weedkiller, a product that was later withdrawn from the French market, caused neurological problems, including memory loss, fainting and headaches.

Bayer said in an emailed statement that it was reviewing the court’s decision. Bayer also said in the statement that court-appointed medical experts had previously found that the incident did not cause the illnesses Francois cited.

Crop protection products “do not pose a risk to human health if used under the conditions of use defined in the context of their marketing authorization,” Bayer said.

The anti-pesticide group Generations Futures, which supported François in his lawsuit, welcomed “this historic decision in which an agro-chemical multinational is finally held responsible for the damage caused to this courageous farmer”.

François had previously sought damages of around 1 million euros ($ 1.2 million).

Bayer, which acquired Monsanto for $ 63 billion in 2018, is facing a wave of litigation in the United States over allegations that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkiller causes cancer.

Bayer, who maintains Roundup is safe, is trying to settle the dispute through a proposed payment of $ 11 billion.

Report by Gus Trompiz. Edited by Jane Merriman

Original © Thomson Reuters

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