BAYER CropScience has dropped a court action against Friends of the Earth, the environmental group has stated.

According to FoE, the company had tried to prevent the environmental group from telling the public how to access safety data on pesticides – including a weedkiller for use on GM herbicide-tolerant crops in the UK, Glufosinate Ammonium.

The legal action was started when FoE said it had legally obtained copies of safety data from the Swedish pesticide regulator KEMI and said it was going to tell the public how they could obtain the information in the same way.

FoE told Bayer it intended to use its website to tell people how to get data from regulators around the world, including Sweden, Denmark, Ireland and the USA.

According to FoE, Bayer last October applied to the High Court for an injunction to keep FoE from:

  • telling people that KEMI or any other regulator held Bayer‘s pesticide data
  • telling people that Friends of the Earth had obtained copies of Bayer‘s pesticide data from foreign regulators
  • making any more requests to KEMI or to any other foreign regulator for access to Bayer‘s data.

According to FoE, a settlement has now been signed in which Bayer has promised never to sue FoE again for doing these things, and in particular not to sue FoE for telling members of the public how to access this type of data or for requesting this type of data from regulators.

FoE director Tony Juniper said: “This is a humiliating climb-down by Bayer, a biotech bully.

“Bayer tried to use its massive financial muscle to prevent members of the public having access to important health and environmental data about substances that are sprayed on our food crops every day.”

“Bayer has gone to great lengths and expense to keep its data out of the public domain but in the end caved in because our case was right.”