Austria: Glyphosate-free Roundup
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The name is the same, the container is the same, but the contents are different. On the market in Austria is a new version of the herbicide Roundup. An article in GMWatch explains the arrival of this vinegar-based product.
The new Roundup is marketed by Scotts under licence from Monsanto, the manufacturer of the controversial weedkiller. The labels say “without glyphosate” and that the active ingredient is vinegar. One purchaser of this new Roundup happened to be a biochemist and at first he thought Roundup without glyphosate might be a joke. Given the background to Roundup, however, the new product makes sense.
The World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that Roundup is probably carcinogenic to humans and Monsanto admitted in court it cannot claim that its herbicide does not cause cancer. In consequence some garden centres had already phased out all chemical pesticides. An example is the garden centre chain Bellaflora that took this step long before IARC's verdict and has been selling only certified organic plant protection products.
The question arises why Scotts have retained the trade name Roundup. It is well established and in the public mind it implies greater effectiveness than using vinegar. However, it may be a little more complicated because if the new formulation still contains toxic adjuvants (additives present in glyphosate herbicide formulations that are designed to increase the toxicity of glyphosate to plants), Scotts have to prove the product's safety. If they can do so, in the opinion of the biochemist experimenting with his new herbicide it’s a victory for Monsanto, the public and the environment.
The GMWatch article concludes that glyphosate-free Roundup is a product whose time has come.