Glyphosate is a synthetic chemical used in agricultural crop production to kill weeds. It is also a popular herbicide for use on lawns and gardens, business and municipal properties, and golf courses, and is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides. In 2015, the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be probably carcinogenic to humans. In 2017, the European Union, in a divided vote, decided to allow glyphosate to be used in the EU for five years.
In December 2017 and January 2018, U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit organization that works to advance transparency in the nation’s food system, submitted two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the State Department seeking communications relating to glyphosate in Europe. The State Department failed to respond to either request.
In July 2019, we filed a lawsuit against the State Department on behalf of U.S. Right to Know, challenging the State Department’s failure to respond to the two FOIA requests. The State Department released records between September 2019 and February 2020. After omissions in the production were discovered, the State Department made additional supplemental productions.