Roundup without Glyphosate? They have it, just not in the U.S.

Roundup and Monsanto have been taking some pretty hard hits from environmentalists, farmers, scientists and others because of the highly toxic main ingredient glyphosate. Even though the EPA, now being strong-armed by our current administration, never finalized its findings about the chemical’s toxicity, there’s plenty of evidence around the world that this is a seriously bad thing for the environment.

But there may be a small ray of hope out there.

A news report today said that Scotts, under license with Monsanto, has come out with a new version of Roundup that’s available in garden centers in Austria, of all places.

Apparently the bottle looks the same as the one we’ve seen here. The only difference compared with the familiar Roundup is that the new one has a prominent label on the front saying it’s formulated “without glyphosate” (“ohne Glyphosat” in German). The back of the bottle lists,on the ingredients label, the “active substance” as none other than vinegar (“Essigsäure”).

“The World Health Organisations’ cancer agency IARC has stated that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen,” said Dr Helmut Burtscher, a biochemist who works for the Vienna-based NGO GLOBAL 2000. Monsanto has admitted in court that it cannot claim that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer because the complete formulation has never been tested.

However, Burtscher cautions buyers (and gardeners) to beware.

“We do not know if the vinegar-based Roundup formulation still contains toxic adjuvants” (additives present in glyphosate herbicide formulations that are designed to increase the toxicity of glyphosate to plants).

But if Scotts can prove the safety of the adjuvants, Burtscher says it’s a win-win situation: “It’s a victory for Monsanto because now it has a product that doesn’t cause harm and a victory for people and the environment.”

Time and consumer reaction will be telling for this”new” version of an old go-t0 for farmers and gardeners. Could it be a safe bet? Or is it a marketing ploy for the chemical company to win back customers? Either way, it’s interesting that there was no major fanfare – in Europe or elsewhere – about this new Roundup.

A silent testing of the market? Could be. We’ll definitely keep an ear to the ground on this one.

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