In June 2018, beekeepers in northern France filed a lawsuit against the agrochemical company Bayer after traces of glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, were found in batches of honey.
The beekeepers are part of a 200-person-strong cooperative in the Aisne region, according to Famille Michaud, one of the country’s biggest honey sellers. The group detected the weed-killing chemical in 3 batches supplied by one of its members.
Jean-Marie Camus explained:
“They systematically analyze the honey shipments they receive, and they found glyphosate.”
French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ban glyphosate in the country by 2021, but just like in the United States, Roundup is currently the most widely-used herbicide in France.
And just like France, traces of glyphosate have been detected in U.S. honey by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The contaminated honey came from a producer whose hives are near extensive fields of sunflowers, beets, and rapeseed, according to Emmanuel Ludot, a lawyer for the cooperative.
“But you also can’t forget the weekend gardeners who often tend to use Roundup.”
The cooperative filed the complaint on June 7 to coincide with the closing of Bayer’s merger with Monsanto, the maker of Roundup.
Ludot hopes the lawsuit will force the government to take a closer look at the percentage of glyphosate in the batches and any potential human health ramifications that may result.
“It’s also a matter of knowing how widespread this might be. Famille Michaud tells me this isn’t an isolated case.”
When glyphosate is found in a batch of honey, the entire shipment is rejected, according to Vincent Michaud, president of Familles Michaud.
“Usually, beekeepers will say, ‘In that case I’ll sell the honey at a roadside stand or a market’, where there’s no quality control. But this beekeeper had the courage to say, ‘I’m not going to be like everyone else, I’m going to file suit against Monsanto.'”