In our last post, we began looking at litigation currently being faced by the multinational agricultural product company Monsanto concerning the chemical glyphosate. As we’ve noted, the corporation is facing allegations concerning its marketing of glyphosate, a potentially carcinogenic chemical used in a variety of its products.

For companies like Monsanto, those involved in the manufacture and distribution of products that could impact human or animal populations and the environment, it is critical to have a good handle on compliance with environmental regulations. In the case of glyphosate, the EPA considers the chemical to be quite safe for humans, but it does regulate the chemical at a certain level. 

Glyphosate, like other pesticides, is regulated according to established tolerances, or maximum amounts of the chemical that are allowed to remain in or on given foods. Before setting tolerance levels, the EPA requires registration of the chemical, which is preceded by agency evaluation of the pesticide to ensure its safety. The actual tolerance level is based on numerous scientific studies, the input of the public, and the agency’s reasonable certainty that no harm will result to consumers.  

For businesses subject to such regulations, the important thing is to understand the federal regulations, implement policies to ensure compliance, and cooperate with the agencies charged with enforcing the regulations, particularly when enforcement actions are initiated. In the case of pesticide tolerances in food, this is the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state enforcement agencies.

Working with an experienced attorney is valuable in any compliance effort. A knowledgeable, skilled attorney will understand how to ensure a company develops a sound compliance policy and is able to address any problems that arise.


EPA, Setting Tolerances for Pesticide Residues in Foods,” Accessed April 3, 2017.

EPA, R.E.D. FACTS: Glyphosate, Sept. 1993