France: Monsanto found guilty of poisoning farmer after lengthy legal battle

Biotechnology giant Monsanto is legally responsible for the ill health of a farmer who ingested a weedkiller, a French appeals court ruled in Paris on Thursday. Paul Francois, who fought a decade-long legal battle against the firm, called the ruling a victory for all pesticide victims in a press conference from his lawyer's office. «It's a message to Agnes Buzyn [former] minister of agriculture... Еще, to the President of the Republic who said that he'll assume the responsibility to remove glyphosate pesticides from our agriculture,» Francois said. The 55-year-old cereal farmer fell ill when he inhaled vapour from Lasso, a now banned herbicide, in 2004. He claims he suffered from neurological problems, including memory loss, headaches and fainting since accidentally ingesting the product. Public health specialist Annie Thebaud-Mony, who was called as expert scientific witness in court, said that Monsanto was unable to contradict the scientific proof presented by the plaintiff. This verdict comes amid increasing pressure over the French government to ban the use of pesticides, after two more scandals linked their use to serious health conditions. In a statement, Francois Lafforgue, the lawyer representing Francois, said his client would be seeking remuneration of up to €1 million ($1.1) in damages. Having won the appeal, Francois's case will be heard by another court in Lyon. Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company which acquired Monsanto in 2018, said it was considering its legal options, including an appeal.

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