Activists in Aberystwyth have labelled bottles of the weed-killer Roundup on supermarket shelves with the additional information: ‘The World Health Organisation classifies this product as probably causing cancer’. Acting with the Global Justice Now campaign group, the Aber activists labelled the weed-killer, made by Monsanto, in Morrisons’ store. The labels, which have been designed to blend in with the corporate branding of Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, also proclaim ‘Degrades farmers’ power so corporations grow’.
In March 2015 the World Health Organisation said that glyphosate, a chemical found in Roundup, the world’s most widely used weed killer, probably caused cancer in humans. Following a public outcry and opposition to relicensing from a number of MEPs, an EU vote to renew the licence for glyphosate was postponed until late May. According to a Yougov poll, two thirds of Europeans think that the EU should ban glyphosate. In France over-the-counter sales of weed killers containing glyphosate are prohibited.
Ian Bell, a local supporter of Global Justice Now said: ‘Activists attached labels to bottles of Roundup in Morrison’s supermarket in Aberystwyth because gardeners have the right to know that the weed killer they are being sold poses a very serious potential threat to their health and wellbeing. It’s disgraceful that a product that has such big question marks over its safety is on our shelves in the first place. We need to ensure that UK politicians are looking out for the health and well-being of UK consumers and food producers rather than just pandering to the profit margins of big agribusiness companies like Monsanto who make millions through the sales of their weed killer Roundup that contains glyphosate.’
Leaflets supplied with the labels and on offer to customers in Morrisons set out the wider Global Justice Now case against Monsanto. The leaflets state that Monsanto will make farmers dependent on our costly products, gain more control over farming, expand the market for our GM seeds and dominate more of the world’s food system. Monsanto is a world leader in agricultural genetic engineering. The corporation campaigns to convince the public and governments that genetic manipulation (GM) is essential to worldwide sustainable development. Their campaign focuses on an allegedly increasing gap between global population and our food supply. The message is clear: Only with GM can we feed the world. Opponent dispute the evidence for this claim. They believe genetic engineering is too risky, with the danger of allergies, runaway super-crops, decreased biodiversity, increased use of pesticides and pesticide resistance. A major fear is the control of seed selection and distribution by powerful corporations.