Monsanto was found guilty in a poisoning, which occurred in 2004. French Farmer Paul Francois claims he was sickened after inhaling the biotechnology company’s Lasso weed killer. On Wednesday, a Lyon, France, court determined Monsanto is indeed liable for Francois’ illness.
Founded in 1901, Monsanto initially produced chemicals which were used as food additives. Over the next 80 years, the company expanded to produce industrial chemicals, plastics, synthetic fibers, and insecticides.
In the 1980s, the biotechnology company began developing genetically modified plant cells, which were eventually used to grow genetically modified crops.
According to the company website, the company’s current focus is on sustainable agriculture.
“We are committed to developing the technologies that enable farmers to produce more crops while conserving more of the natural resources that are essential to their success. Producing more. Conserving more. Improving lives. That’s sustainable agriculture. And that’s what Monsanto is all about.”
Despite their stated commitment to conservation and natural resources, the biotechnology company has become the subject of heated controversy.
As discussed by Reader Supported News, critics argue Monsanto, and their genetically modified products, are doing more harm than good.
Critics allege Monsanto is guilty of poisoning people and the environment with their use of harmful chemicals. The company is further accused of monopolizing agriculture, influencing FDA regulations in their own favor, and threatening the environment with genetically modified products.
In 2004, Paul Francois was reportedly poisoned while using Monsanto’s Lasso weed killer on his crops.
According to Francois, he became ill shortly after applying the product. As stated in the lawsuit, the symptoms included difficulty breathing, headaches, and memory loss.
Although he admits the exposure was accidental, Francois argued that the product was inadequately labeled.
— Karim Emile Bitar (@karimbitar) September 10, 2015
Monsanto was originally found guilty in the poisoning case in 2012. However, the biotechnology company appealed the court’s decision.
This week, a French appeals court determined Monsanto is indeed guilty in the poisoning of Paul Francois. The decision of the primary court was therefore upheld, and the biotech company was ordered to “fully compensate” the victim.
Although he does not expect to receive a significant settlement, Francois said he is satisfied with the court’s decision.
According to French law, citizens are prohibited from being “compensated twice” for the same loss. Fox News reports the court is unlikely to order a monetary award, as Francois already received a settlement from the insurance company.
Monsanto vehemently denies their product is responsible for Francois’ illness. However, it is now banned in Canada, Belgium, Britain, and France. The company also “phased out of Lasso in the United States several years ago for commercial reasons.”
Although Monsanto was found guilty in the poisoning case, the company’s attorney announced plans to appeal the decision with France’s high court.
[Image via Brent Stirton/Getty Images]