Real Food Scoop | No. 20

Momentum is building against big chemical companies with yet another blow against Bayer-Monsanto.


In the second lawsuit against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year old man, claimed that his use of the company’s glyphosate-based weed-killer Roundup was the main cause of his Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. On March 19, a six-person jury ruled “that Roundup was likely a substantial factor in causing [his] cancer.” The second part of the trial, where the jury was asked to determine damages if any, just ended. In a unanimous decision, the jury awarded Hardeman more than $80 million in damages.

This is a big deal folks. There are more than 11,000 (yes, 11,000!) other cases pending. Bayer-Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides are the most widely applied herbicides in the world—and the chemical industry’s shenanigans to influence the science are getting exposed in these trials. Just one of the latest tidbits: In a deposition, a Monsanto executive admitted the company spent as much as $17 million in one year alone to influence the public narrative about Roundup in the wake of the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) ruling that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Like the lawyer leading that deposition, we wonder how much it would have cost the company to test their products’ health impacts instead of spending millions on spin.

The next Bayer-Monsanto trial starts today in California courts. To keep up to date, follow Carey Gilliam, of US Right to Know, and her trial tracker. And for more background on the issue, tune in to our Real Food Reads podcast with Gillam about her award-winning book on glyphosate: Whitewash: The Story of a Weedkiller, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.  

In community and solidarity,

Anna, Christina, Tiffani, and Tanya

Read the full issue of the Real Food Scoop

Header photo: Leah Penniman of Soul Fire Farm, recipient of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award. Photo credit: Jamel Mosely