Shareholder Resolution Asks Monsanto To Assess Risks of Glyphosate

Monsanto’s Roundup is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. Glyphosate is its main ingredient. One investment advisory firm would like Monsanto to study the dangers of glyphosate.

Read more about glyphosate

Harrington Investments, Inc. is the firm and it introduced a shareholder resolution to Monsanto asking for the study to be conducted. Harrington has introduced numerous shareholder resolutions and applied decades of pressure. The current shareholder resolution is the same one the firm introduced in January which asked Monsanto to prepare a report on potential financial risks to the company given the recent classification of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. The same year, the state of California announced it would list glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65. Monsanto filed a lawsuit to prevent California from doing so.

“They have a long history of egregious behavior,” John Harrington, president of Harrington, said of Monsanto. “They operate with no regard for the potential harm that may result from their actions – profit is their sole objective. Monsanto is the quintessential example of a corporation that exists exclusively to maximize materialistic self-interest, regardless of the consequences to society.”

Glyphosate use in the U.S. has continued to greatly increase in the last 20 years. Harrington describes the growth as “staggering and shocking.” He mentions the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from last year that let “us know know our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t even test for glyphosate in our food supply,” he said.

What the GAO report found is that the FDA’s data for 2008 to 2012 show that the “FDA’s approach to monitoring for violations, which targets commodities it has identified as high risk, has limitations.” In other words, what Harrington said is correct. The FDA wasn’t testing for glyphosate residue in U.S. produce. The GAO recommended that the FDA “improve its methodology.”

Earlier this year, the FDA announced it will start testing certain foods for pesticide residues in certain foods, including soybeans, corn, milk and eggs. Civil Eats noted that the FDA’s announcement came after the GAO report and “amid growing public concern” about glyphosate’s safety. U.S. Right To Know pointed out that the FDA is responsible for food safety and measuring pesticide residues on certain foods, but the “agency has not routinely looked for glyphosate in its pesticide chemical residue monitoring regulatory program in the past.”

Monsanto “just can’t keep going on,” Harrington said. “The Board of Directors at Monsanto has a fiduciary duty to understand the legal and financial risks facing the company as the risks to public health and safety from use of their products becomes more clear,” Harrington said. "And they have a duty to assess those risks and let shareholders know about them." 

Read more about glyphosate found in breastmilk

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman| August 23, 2016
Categories:  Live

About the Author

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!

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