Monsanto Roundup ad is misleading - Dutch Advertising Code Commission
Earth Open Source
18 December 2012
An advertisement for Roundup herbicide that Monsanto placed in June 2012 in the big Dutch newspapers Volkskrant and Telegraaf has made a number of misleading claims. That is the view of the Dutch Advertising Code Commission in its decision of 11 December.
The Commission ruled that the ad, titled "Roundup, the facts", was misleading in its claims that Roundup has no effect on soil, does not persist in the soil, and does not reach groundwater.
The complaint against the ad was brought by the NGO gifsoja.nl (Toxic Soy, Netherlands) together with Corporate Europe Observatory and Pesticide Action Network. Kees Beaart, one of the complainants, had complained successfully in the 1990s more than ten times about misleading advertising by Monsanto.
Gifsoja.nl commented on the new ruling: "Monsanto is still trying to keep up appearances that Roundup is a harmless substance, while worldwide evidence is accumulating that the formulation, the active ingredient glyphosate and the breakdown product AMPA are actually very harmful to humans, animals and the environment."
Monsanto placed its advertisement to defend Roundup against a report by Earth Open Source called "Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?" The report revealed that industry's own studies carried out as long ago as the 1980s showed that glyphosate, Roundup's active ingredient, causes birth defects in laboratory animals. It also presented evidence from independent studies that glyphosate and Roundup were endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, and linked with some types of cancer.
Monsanto's ad did not directly address these studies or make claims about Roundup's safety for human health. Instead it only argued that the studies highlighted in EOS's report – all of them, presumably – had been evaluated by CTGB (the Dutch regulatory authority) and other EU authorities and deemed not "relevant". In other words, if there's any problem with Roundup, blame the regulators!
Thus "regulation" has become a convenient shield for industry to hide behind. It means that industry does not have to address evidence against its products directly but can simply point to regulatory approvals as a way of divesting itself of responsibility for toxic effects.
To see a scan of Monsanto's misleading advertisement (in Dutch), follow the link here: