Citing harm to the nation’s agriculture economy, Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting California from implementing its “false and misleading” Prop 65 labeling requirement for the herbicide glyphosate. The injunction was sought by more than a dozen leading agriculture groups and supported by eleven attorneys general across the U.S. The preliminary injunction will halt California’s labeling requirement until a final ruling on the matter is issued by the court.
“Farmers work tirelessly to put food on America’s tables, and Glyphosate is a vital tool that growers have trusted to provide safe, affordable food,” said Chandler Goule, Chief Executive Officer for the National Association of Wheat Growers, the lead plaintiff in the case. “Every regulatory body in the world that has reviewed glyphosate has found it safe for use and no available product matches glyphosate with a comparable health and environmental safety profile. We are pleased Judge Shubb granted our request, which is the first step in our efforts to prevent California from forcing farmers, growers and manufacturers to place false and misleading labels on agricultural products. California’s erroneous Prop 65 listing of glyphosate is not based on data, facts or science and we look forward to continuing to make our case to the court.”
Judge Shubb made the following statements when issuing his ruling granting the agriculture coalition’s request for a preliminary junction:
“As applied to glyphosate, the required warnings are false and misleading. Plaintiffs have thus established a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the warning requirement violates their First Amendment rights.” (p. 17)
“[Given] the heavy weight of evidence in the record that glyphosate is not in fact known to cause cancer, the required warning is factually inaccurate and controversial.” (p. 16)
“However, a reasonable consumer would not understand that a substance is ‘known to cause cancer’ where only one health organization had found that the substance in question causes cancer and virtually all other government agencies and health organizations that have reviewed studies on the chemical had found there was no evidence that it caused cancer. Under these facts, the message that glyphosate is known to cause cancer is misleading at best.” (p. 14)
“It is inherently misleading for a warning to state that a chemical is known to the state of California to cause cancer based on the finding of one organization (which as noted above, only found that substance is probably carcinogenic), when apparently all other regulatory and governmental bodies have found the opposite, including the EPA, which is one of the bodies California law expressly relies on in determining whether a chemical causes cancer.” (pp. 15-16)
Glyphosate is approved for application in over 250 agricultural crops throughout the United States. Despite scientific findings from hundreds of studies and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and regulatory agencies around the world that glyphosate is safe for use, California ignored facts, data and science, when it added glyphosate to the state’s Prop 65 list.
The National Association of Wheat Growers are the lead plaintiff in the case against California filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The plaintiffs include the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, the Agricultural Retailers Association, Associated Industries of Missouri, Iowa Soybean Association, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, CropLife America, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, North Dakota Grain Growers Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association and United States Durum Growers Association.