ABC Four Corners provides misconception of glyphosate

In response to the Four Corners episode aired on the ABC last night 8 October, WAFarmers has concerns over the misrepresentation of glyphosate.

WAFarmers Grain Council President Duncan Young said the portrayal of glyphosate as a cancer causing agent has been blown out proportion by the Four Corners programme.

“The programme lacked substantial scientific evidence and rather relied on pseudo-scientific claims and hearsay that glyphosate was responsible for causing farmers cancer and was the sole carcinogenic involved in the US Court case between a retired groundskeeper and Monsanto (Bayer),” he said.

“The programme angled that the world’s most regularly applied herbicide was linked to false analysis conducted by Monsanto (Bayer), and that the chemical company repeatedly ignored experts warning and helped to ‘ghost-write’ research that encouraged continued usage of the herbicide.

“What the programme failed to address was the clear and overwhelming scientific evidence from independent regulators that glyphosate-based products are safe.

“Detailed analysis and assessment has been carried out in over 800 scientific studies and reviews, including by Australia’s own independent regulator the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Association (APVMA).

“Every independent, science-based regulatory agency around the globe has comprehensively evaluated the herbicide and found it safe to use in accordance with label directions.

“The APVMA examined glyphosate in 2016 and found no grounds for its approved uses to be reconsidered.

“It’s important to note these independent studies have received no influence or oversight from Monsanto.

“Glyphosate was introduced to the market by Monsanto in 1974 and its patent expired in 2000. Now glyphosate is sold by various manufacturers around the world and is the world’s most regularly applied herbicide and is used in conjunction with other agricultural chemicals to effectively and safely minimise weed emergence,” Mr Young said.

Herbicides are essential tools for Australian farmers; they allow on-farm productivity, ensure yields can meet global food supply and allow farmers to use cropping techniques that have less environmental impacts.

It is critical for Australian agriculture that the Government and general public are well informed and not swayed by misleading commentary.

Mr Young said the recent Californian jury decision on glyphosate has led to an alarmist response to global use of the herbicide.

“The public need to understand that the Australian regulatory system is supported by highly-qualified and globally respected medical and toxicological scientists who have decades of experience and knowledge on agricultural chemicals.

“It is crucial that any debate on farming is informed and based on scientific evidence and not on rhetoric driven by emotion.”
 
WAFarmers will continue to work on a state and national level to highlight the importance of glyphosate to the Australian agricultural industry.

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