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French beekeepers accuse Bayer after glyphosate found in honey

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A beekeeping cooperative in northern France has filed a legal complaint against German chemicals giant Bayer after traces of the controversial weedkiller glyphosate were detected in batches of honey, officials said Friday.

The head of the cooperative in the Aisne region, which represents some 200 beekeepers, said Famille Michaud, one of the country’s largest honey marketers, found the chemical in three batches supplied by one of its members.

“They systematically analyse the honey shipments they receive, and they found glyphosate,” Jean-Marie Camus said.

The weedkiller, introduced by the US agro-giant Monsanto under the Roundup brand name, is the most widely used in France, where President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to outlaw it by 2021.

It is suspected by some scientists of causing cancer, though the EU renewed the licence for glyphosate weedkillers last November despite deep divisions between member states.

Emmanuel Ludot, a lawyer for the cooperative, said the tainted honey came from a producer whose hives are near extensive fields of sunflowers, beets and rapeseed.

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“But you also can’t forget the weekend gardeners who often tend to use Roundup,” he said.

The complaint was filed Thursday to coincide with the closing of Monsanto’s merger with Bayer, creating an agrichemical behemoth which many environmental activists denounce for its promotion of chemical herbicides as well as genetically modified seeds.

Ludot hopes the complaint will prompt an inquiry to determine the percentage of glyphosate in the batches and any health consequences it might have for humans.

“It’s also a matter of knowing how widespread this might be. Famille Michaud tells me this isn’t an isolated case,” he said.

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Vincent Michaud, president of Familles Michaud, confirmed to AFP that “we regularly detect foreign substances, including glyphosate.”

If the weedkiller is found, he said, a supplier’s entire shipment is rejected.

“Usually, beekeepers will say ‘In that case I’ll sell the honey at a roadside stand or a market’, where there’s no quality control,” Michaud said.

“But this beekeeper had the courage to say ‘I’m not going to be like everyone else, I’m going to file suit against Monsanto’,” he said.

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DOJ money laundering probe of Deutsche Bank includes Kushner transactions: report

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting a criminal investigation of possible money laundering violations by Deutsche Bank, and the New York Times is reporting that the probe will include taking a look at some 2016 transactions involving Kushner Cos. — the business owned by the family of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

In banking, reports of possibly suspicious activity are known as “suspicious activity reports,” and the DOJ is investigating why Deutsche Bank prepared such alerts for activity involving Kushner Cos. but did not file them. A key figure in the DOJ’s investigation is whistleblower Tammy McFadden, who helped prepare suspicious activity reports for Kushner Cos.-related transactions. McFadden is a former compliance officer for Deutsche Bank.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden promises to answer questions about his son’s overseas business dealings — after he’s elected

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Joe Biden refused to answer questions about his son's overseas business dealings.

The Democratic presidential frontrunner has been criticized for conducting diplomatic work as vice president in countries were his son, Hunter Biden, was engaged in business, but he refused at two campaign stops Monday to take questions about the controversy, reported ABC News.

Instead, his campaign promised that Biden would issue an executive order "on his first day in office" to "address conflicts of interest of any kind."

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US Justice Dept. tells court migrant children in federal concentration camps don’t need soap or toothbrushes

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The Trump administration's Justice Dept. lawyers say migrant children detained in federal concentration camps do not need soap or toothbrushes despite a settlement agreement that requires the U.S. Government to keep them in "safe and sanitary" facilities. The DOJ also argues that the children, detained in the Southern border camps, can continue to sleep on cold concrete floors in overcrowded cells without being in violation of the agreement.

The DOJ made the argument Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit, Courthouse News reports, noting the judges appeared "incredulous" with the government's claims.

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