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Citing risks, Brazil's Parana state bans Monsanto, BASF pesticides

(Friday, April 9, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Bloomberg News, 04/05/04: Brazil's Parana, the country's biggest soy-producing state, ordered Monsanto Co. and Basf AG to suspend the sale of some pesticides as it seeks more information about their impact on human health.

Roberto Requiao, the state governor, ordered the recall of all stocks of pesticides produced by both companies because state officials lack information about their impact on health, said Benedito Pires, a spokesman for the governor. ``Roundup Ready,'' a pesticide produced by Monsanto to work with its genetically modified soybeans, is among the products prohibited by the state, he said.

``The governor banned all the products that are missing the information demanded by the state's agriculture department,'' said Pires in a telephone interview. ``They're dangerous for people's health.''

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva allowed the temporary planting and selling of genetically modified soybeans in Latin America's biggest country in October. Requiao approved a state law barring farmers from growing the so-called transgenic seeds in the state and exporting them through Paranagua, Brazil's biggest grain port.

The decision to ban the pesticides is the latest step by Requiao, who has raised concern among investors by reversing contracts with France's Veolia Environnement SA, the world's largest water company, and Endesa SA, Spain's biggest power company, and threatening to seize private toll roads.

Parana produced about 22 percent of Brazil's soy last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Brazil is the second- biggest soy producer, after the U.S.

Basf is asking for more information from the state on the decision because it hasn't received official notification, said Gislaine Rossetti, a spokeswoman for the Sao Paulo-based Brazilian unit of the German company.

Monsanto hasn't received official notification to stop selling its pesticides and will keep doing so until it does, the company said in a statement released by e-mail by the company's Brazilian unit in Sao Paulo. Monsanto said its herbicides follow rules laid down by the country's Health, Environment and Agriculture Ministries.