By: Sybille de La Hamaide

French Environment and Energy Minister Segolene Royal has asked garden shops to stop over-the-counter sales of Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller as part of a wider fight against pesticides seen as potentially harmful to humans.

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

She did not specify how she would enforce any move to curb over-the-counter sales of Roundup, one of the most widely used herbicides.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization (WHO), said in March that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup was "probably carcinogenic to humans."

That prompted calls from some public officials and consumers for a ban on the pesticide.

Monsanto said on Sunday it had no information relating to a change in the marketing authorisation for Roundup and that there was no new scientific data available to challenge it.

"Under the conditions recommended on the label, the product does not present any particular risk for the user," the company said in an email.

France is already considering a move to restrict self-service sales of plant protection products for domestic gardeners as part of a wider move to crackdown on pesticides, although this would only apply from 2018. Sales would have to be done through a certified vendor.
A full ban on the use of pesticides by home gardeners in France is planned for 2022.

"If the measure was to enter into force before Jan. 1, 2018 it would be welcome progress," green group Generations Futures said in a statement.

Originally Published: Reuters