Monsanto Co. is facing lawsuits from thousands of farmers and consumers who blame the company’s Roundup weed killer for their cancers. Now, Bayer AG, which purchased Monsanto last year, is facing a lawsuit claiming that Roundup attacks healthy gut bacteria.
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Kansas City, Missouri, claims that Roundup’s labels falsely assured customers that the product targets an enzyme not found in pets or people.
According to the lawsuit, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, attacks an enzyme also found in beneficial gut bacteria of humans and some animals.
Three consumers are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They are seeking unspecified monetary damages and class action status.
There are two other lawsuits based on similar claims, but neither are class action. A spokesman for Bayer told Bloomberg that the lawsuit is without merit.
Monsanto is currently facing more than 8,000 lawsuits filed by people who claim the product caused their cancers.
A federal judge is considering tossing one lawsuit, which claims that Roundup caused a California man’s cancer. The judge has given the plaintiff’s lawyer another chance to get the lawsuit to trial in May in federal court.
The plaintiff in that case, Sioum Gebeyehou, claims that Roundup caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The hearing to determine whether his case should be tossed was part of a string of proceedings taking place ahead of the February 25 trials in federal court in San Francisco.
Last year, a state court jury found that Roundup caused a Vallejo man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was awarded $289 million in punitive damages, but that award was reduced to $78 million. Bayer has appealed the decision.
If Gebeyehou’s case is allowed to proceed, it will be the third and last to go to trial before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria. Chhabria is presiding over the trials in San Francisco, and will be overseeing more than 9,000 lawsuits filed across the U.S. over Roundup’s safety.