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French Assembly rejects glyphosate ban for second time

The National Assembly has rejected a move to legally ban the herbicide glyphosate completely, for the second time this year.

The new vote, which took place on Saturday September 15, means that the controversial herbicide - which has been linked to health conditions including cancer, and eye issues - will not be legally banned in France within the next three years.

This is despite continued support of a legal ban by 2021 from President Emmanuel Macron.

The minister for agriculture, Stéphane Travert, is against such a ban - and was against it earlier this year too.

Mr Travert has questioned the government’s “method”, suggesting that instead of a ban on the current herbicide, there should be further research on eco-friendly solutions.

The MP is not against a total ban forever, but has argued that it should be postponed until better alternatives are available.

He said: “The position of France is now known. We would like to be present in three years...to respond to the President’s objective, and that of the wider population.”

Earlier in the year, many MPs had unsuccessfully demanded that a ban on glyphosate be enshrined in law.

This motion had been supported by former ecology minister, Nicolas Hulot, with many MPs on the left asking that the government give a “strong signal” on the subject.

This time, amendments to the motion had been brought by MPs including François-Michel Lambert (Bouches-du-Rhône) of La République en Marche (LRM). His amendment to the bill was rejected 42 votes to 35.

Another LRM MP, Jean-Baptiste Moreau, said that banning glyphosate “would not achieve anything”.

The motion will come back into the chamber for debate on September 25.

Glyphosate - often known commercially under its most common brand name “Roundup by Monsanto” - has come in for global criticism in recent years.

In August, US company Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million (€253 million) to a gardener who was ruled to have contracted incurable cancer due to using glyphosate over many years.

Similarly, over five million people in France have downloaded an app named “Yuka”, which allows users to search for different foods, and offers information not only on calories, sugar, protein and fibre levels; but also the presence of potentially-damaging additives, herbicides and pesticides.

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