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  • French Minister Segolene Royal

    French Minister Segolene Royal | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 June 2015

Environmental groups have criticized the announcement, claiming it was more of a public relations move than a substantial policy shift.

Minister of Environment Segolene Royal announced Tuesday that the garden shops will have to remove Monsanto's best selling herbicide Roundup from their shelves starting Jan. 1, in the wake of growing global concern about the product's dangers to human and environmental health.

"France must be on the offensive on stopping pesticides," Royal told France 3 television on Sunday.

Environment groups, however, have criticized the announcement as being nothing more than a rhetorical move, as amateur gardeners will still be allowed to obtain Roundup at the counter, while French farmers – the biggest consumers of the product and the biggest pesticide users in Europe – can still use it freely.

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Nevertheless, France initially planned to prohibit the use of all pesticides for home gardening by 2022, but this deadline was postponed in January until 2025.

Roundup is the most popular pesticide used by amateur gardeners – about 17 million in France, according to Le Monde. They use about 2,000 tons of this product every year – 8,500 by professional farmers. A study released in March by the U.N.’s World Health Organization concluded that glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The investigation was immediately discarded by the biotechnology giant as “junk science.”

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