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Court asked to halt California’s requirement for glyphosate

Coalition seeks federal court intervention to prevent glyphosate labeling requirement under California’s Prop 65.

A national coalition of agricultural groups led by the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) is seeking to immediately halt the state of California’s labeling requirement for gyphosate, citing irreparable harm to American farmers, consumers and the nation's agricultural economy.

The coalition filed a motion for a preliminary injunction with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California in response to California’s Proposition 65 regulation, which requires the labeling of products that may contain the herbicide glyphosate.

“California’s flawed Prop 65 requirement will cause irreparable harm to the agriculture economy, impacting American farmers and consumers, and we are asking the court for an injunction to immediately halt this action,” NAWG president Gordon Stoner said. "A significant number of wheat farmer use glyphosate, and requiring a misleading and false label will fundamentally change the way farming is done in America.”

In seeking a preliminary injunction, the agricultural coalition members stated that they would sustain significant reputational damage if forced to falsely label their products, placing them at a competitive disadvantage and threatening the agricultural supply chain by forcing farmers to stop using a preferred method of production, which is already regulated by the federal government to ensure consumer safety. The injunction also notes that forcing the coalition members to falsely label their product violates their First Amendment freedoms. Legal precedent makes clear that the loss of First Amendment freedoms, even for minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.

Included in the motion are a series of declarations by agricultural groups outlining the immediate and irreparable harm Prop 65 will cause, including:

  • Harming the reputation of agricultural products, crops and farming operations;
  • Increasing costs of farming practices;
  • Forcing the use of alternatives to glyphosate that are less effective, more labor intensive, more expensive and bad for the environment;
  • Misinforming consumers and food producers;
  • Demanding unrealistic new infrastructure and different packaging to segregate crops treated with glyphosate;
  • Placing farmers at a competitive disadvantage, and
  • Imposing a high risk for expensive litigation.

In addition to NAWG, the coalition filing the motion includes the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Assn., Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Assn., North Dakota Grain Growers Assn., South Dakota Agri-Business Assn. and United States Durum Growers Assn. In addition, the Agricultural Retailers Assn. and CropLife America have joined this growing coalition of agricultural groups as plaintiffs in the case.

California’s Prop 65 mandate is based on what the coalition claimed is a “highly controversial and discredited opinion” published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a non-regulatory organization of the U.N.'s World Health Organization based on Lyon, France.  IARC’s opinion on glyphosate has been shown to be fundamentally flawed, as its members concealed and distorted data and studies showing the product is safe and effective.

“Glyphosate has been studied by governments and regulatory agencies in the U.S. and around the world, and the science shows it is safe and effective for use in agriculture,” Stoner said. “California ignored the scientific research from all credible sources and relied on unscientific findings from a biased, non-regulatory organization in France to force American farmers to place false labels on products that may contain glyphosate.”

Glyphosate is approved and regulated by U.S. regulatory agencies for application in more than 250 agricultural crops throughout the U.S.

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