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French court finds Monsanto guilty of poisoning farmer (theguardian.com)
157 points by ciconia 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 22 comments

I happen to be staying at a b&b at a organic French vineyard right now. We stayed here because the owner has written three books about the experience [1] and it was in an area we wanted to visit (between Bordeaux and Bergerac) rather than because it was organic. As we have walked around this area, I've been horrified by the contrast between organic vineyards and those which are not. The non-organic vineyards have scorched dead brown grass a foot either side of every row of vines, from insecticide which is applied every 6 weeks. The organic vines are surrounded by green grass and wildflowers. 94% of Bordeaux wine is not organic. There is a lot of scorched dead grass.

Before this "organic" to me meant: expensive, nice idea, faddish and definitely not something I sought out.

This trip has been life-changing. I've become an organic convert overnight. I do not want to eat fruit or plant byproducts from roots which are constantly exposed to weedkiller or insecticide so strong that it kills all around it (except the root itself).

[1]- https://www.amazon.com/s?k=caro+feely&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Ironically, organic wine is one of the organic products that’s least sustainable, because of the widespread use of copper sulfate (conventional vineyards use it too, but also have other more sustainable options). It builds up in the soil and in the vineyard workers. https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2017/06/09/winemakers-aba...

I'm sorry, but your experience seems to me to just scream of a fallacious appeal to nature. While there are certainly issues with herbicides and insecticides, just because something looks nice doesn't mean its the better option.

dl33ta 5 months ago [flagged]

Your response screams of schilling. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes researching the effects of herbicides and pesticides understands the massive negative impact they are having on our environment. As a farmer who doesn’t use any chemicals surrounded by farmers who do, you have no idea of the nightmare that conventional agricultural is.

Even though I don’t use chemicals I know for a fact that my livestock and produce are contaminated from neighbour’s drift. I’ve had to empty out 6 large troughs because they had a thick film of roundup surfactant and glyphosate on them. I’ve been sick in bed for a day because my idiot neighbour sprayed during inversion conditions and his whole payload landed on my barn. It’s not fun, let me tell you.

Try not to be emotional when your own water tanks, your only source of water, is full of your neighbours chemicals and poisoning your children. Try not to be emotional when legislation provides no protection to spray victims because Bayer uses the “when used in accordance with the label” get out of jail free card.

I dare anyone who doesn’t buy organic to get a sample of their vegetables sent to a lab for a full organic tox screen and see how you feel then. Unlike vaccines, glyphosate is actually shown to cause autism among a number of other issues. Comparing one person’s desire to contribute positively to the environment with anti-vaxxers is disgusting.

did you even read my comment? i literally said "While there are certainly issues with herbicides and insecticides...". I'm not disagreeing with the premise that herbicides and such are bad, I'm just disagreeing with his specific reason.

While your sentiment is noble, please be aware that "organic" is often used as a very broad (read: marketing) term and that you have to research individual producers, products and country laws to be sure that "organic" means the latter and not the former.

In USA organic has a very strict definition. Natural on the otherhand doesn't actually mean anything

Right, but that strict definition is often broader than people expect. Many people don't realize that organic production normally allows for significant pesticide use, courtesy of natural pesticides that could in some cases be worse than their better-targeted synthetic counterparts.

> ...dead brown grass a foot either side of every row of vines, from insecticide which is applied every 6 weeks.

You must be talking about herbicide, not insecticide. Herbicide kills unwanted plants, that's the whole point. It generally doesn't kill insects or "everything around it". Numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to show that Roundup/Glyphosate was harmful to bees, for example.

> I do not want to eat fruit or plant byproducts from roots which are constantly exposed to weedkiller or insecticide so strong that it kills all around it (except the root itself).

You should be aware then that there is such a thing as organic pesticides/herbicides which are no less "harmful" than their non-organic counterparts. The difference between organic/non-organic is generally whether a compound is synthetic or not, which is a completely nonsensical distinction from a health/environmental standpoint.

Herbicides/Pesticides are indispensable tools for modern agriculture. They generally have been tested to be safe to use on produce for human consumption. You should probably be more worried about the natural chemicals that some of these plants contain.

> Numerous unsuccessful attempts were made to show that Roundup/Glyphosate was harmful to bees

Yes, but there were also successful attempts. https://www.pnas.org/content/115/41/10305 https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b02212

1000 people not finding the right reason does not mean it does not exist, it just means they didn't find it. When somebody does find it, we don't say "we'll only listen to you when 1001 papers agree with you".

My parents own a small vineyard near bordeaux. We don't use weedkiller so there is grass all over (see http://montjon.com/). But no grass or brown grass doesn't necessarily mean that the owner uses a lot weed killer or insecticides, there are other ways to remove the grass mechanically. e.g. this type of tools https://youtu.be/gmaIugbRPDI?t=227

The video is convincing, but in practice it takes a lot of time and breaks many roots, so it's not ideal.

Why do you think that dead grass surrounding a vineyard is harmful? The only conditions under which this would be a bad thing are: a) there is a wider environmental impact; b) there is a risk to consumers. Neither of which you could see by casually strolling by.

This type of anecdotal feelings based decision making is how we ended up with widespread anti-vaccine, anti-gluten, anti-GMO sentiment, etc.

Why would you think dead grass is harmful? It's not dead grass that is harmful. The poison that kills the grass is harmful.

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, but that doesn't mean it's dangerous to us. Again, you can't just rely on your gut feeling for this kind of stuff.

Roundup is toxic to humans as are most if not all herbicides. I think it would be better to assume anything that can kill grass is toxic to humans unless there is significant research proving this to not be true. I would rather see people err on the side of caution in this area.

I would not put antibiotics, GMO or gluten in the same basket, however even if (imo) pretty valid concerns arise from the population, these are still used widely.

I don't understand this sentiment, why is organic so quickly associated why unscientific bullshit like anti-vaccine? Maybe it's specific to the US, but here in France even if historically there is a lot of snake-oil products associated with "natural" things, organic is a strict regulated label, and apart for some products (like wine), does not cause much debate in the "scientific-minded" crowd (except for GMO) for environmental and health benefits.

Note: you have seen one of the better organic farms.

In most countries the requirements for what constitutes as organic are so loose, that you are not going to see differences similar to this one.

I feel like sourcing from places that you trust is the best way to proceed. I would not trust a label, just because they claim to have organic produce.

I wonder if they'll also change ways, or just names.


They won't change anything while they spend the next 10 years in legal maneuvers to draw out the case, then, probably after they've made another billion euros on other shitty, dangerous products, they will settle out of court for a pittance compared to the profit they made off of this and other discontinued and dangerous chemicals.


This lawsuit is about monochlorobenzene, not glyphosate.

You didn't even read the article?

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