Organic Consumers Association

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Court Documents Reveal Monsanto's Efforts to Fight Glyphosate's 'Severe Stigma'

Canadian firm hired to recruit scientists to publish studies that ultimately defended Roundup's key ingredient

In March 2015, agrochemical giant Monsanto had a problem. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that glyphosate, the principal ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer product, was probably carcinogenic to humans.

Negative results from the IARC panel, which identifies and evaluates environmental causes of cancer in humans, could mean a potential hit to the company's profitability. Roundup is a major profit generator for Monsanto. In 2015, Monsanto made nearly $4.76 billion US in sales and $1.9 billion in gross profits from its "agricultural productivity" sector, a large part of which was made up of Roundup sales, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

A review by CBC/Radio-Canada of internal Monsanto documents disclosed in the court case of Dewayne Johnson, who sued Monsanto and won $78 million last October, showed the many efforts the company took to fight the IARC assessment.

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