French officials are investigating after revelations that agro-chemicals firm Monsanto compiled a potentially illegal file on critics on chemicals and genetically modified crops.
The document was made by a PR agency working for Monsanto, which makes the controversial weed killer glyphosate.
Marketed as Roundup by Monsanto, the weed killer has come under fire in France with calls to ban it.
Its parent company Bayer has apologised over Monsanto’s dossier.
“This is not the way Bayer seeks dialogue with society and stakeholders,” Bayer said, adding that there was no indication of illegal activity.
The list of some 200 people included politicians, journalists and scientists who had raised concerns about Monsanto’s activities, including French MEPs and the environment minister at the time, Ségolène Royal.
It was compiled in 2016, ahead of a vote in late 2017 on whether to approve the use of glyphosate in the European Union for the next five years.
That vote passed. Glyphosate has been classified as a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization, but the US Environmental Protection Agency says it is unlikely to cause cancer in humans, and the European Chemicals Agency said there was not enough evidence to label it as carcinogenic.
France, however, voted against approval, and has since declared it will ban the chemical in the coming years.
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