Brazil court yet to rule on glyphosate

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) — Brazilian Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi tweeted Aug. 24 that he had incorrectly stated a day earlier that a court had lifted an injunction on products containing glyphosate.

An appeal is still pending on an Aug. 3 ruling that new products containing the chemical could not be registered in the country and existing registrations would be suspended as of September until health authority Anvisa issues a decision on its re-evaluation of glyphosate’s safety.

“My desire to resolve this issue is such that I have just passed on information that the glyphosate injunction had been struck down…. I’m still waiting for the decision. Sorry for what has happened,” Maggi said in a follow-up tweet.

The ministry declined to comment further.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soybeans, and glyphosate products are widely used on the country’s soy and other crops.

Monsanto, the biggest seller of glyphosate products in Brazil, declined to comment.

The appeal claimed maintaining a suspension on glyphosate would make the country the first in the world to ban it. A suspension could result in the loss of an estimated $25 billion in trade, court records showed.

Maggi said banning the popular herbicide would be “a disaster” for Brazilian agriculture because no comparable alternatives are readily available. Brazilian farmers begin planting soy this month.

Brazilian pesticides lobby group Sindiveg said it would await the ruling on the appeal before deciding on any further action.

The World Health Organization in 2015 classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” yet its use is allowed in most developed countries, including the United States and Canada much of the European Union.

A U.S. judge ruled last month that Monsanto must pay US$289 million in damages to a man who alleged the company’s glyphosate products caused his cancer. Monsanto is appealing the decision.

Monsanto and Bayer have said that hundreds of studies and a track record of more than 40 years of use in practice demonstrate that glyphosate is safe.

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