Sean Cate
Sean Cate
August 21, 2023 ·  3 min read

Costco was the First Major Retailer to Dump Monsanto’s Roundup and Glyphosate Herbicide from its Shelves

In what can be deemed a watershed moment that transpired in 2015, Costco, a renowned retailer, severed ties with Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, commonly known as Roundup.1 This pivotal decision showcased the company’s dedication to safeguarding consumer well-being and the environment. Glyphosate, the principal ingredient of Roundup, encountered growing scrutiny due to its potential links to severe health issues, including suspected carcinogenic properties.2 This article delves into the motivations behind Costco’s pioneering action and explores the wide-ranging implications it has exerted on both the retail realm and public health.

A Growing Controversy and Health Imperatives

Glyphosate, a herbicidal compound created by Monsanto, swiftly gained recognition as a potent tool for weed management across various settings, from agricultural fields to residential gardens. However, escalating usage prompted concerns within the scientific community due to emerging evidence suggesting potential health hazards. Research sounded the alarm regarding possible connections between glyphosate exposure and serious conditions such as cancer and liver disease. This incited discussions concerning the ethical obligations of major retailers to prioritize consumer safety and well-being.

Costco’s Groundbreaking Decision: Forging a New Path

With that in mind, in 2015 Costco phased out Monsanto’s Roundup and associated glyphosate-containing products from its inventory. This decision underscored the company’s commitment to aligning its operations with consumer preferences and broader environmental considerations. The advocacy efforts of groups like Moms Across America played a pivotal role in shaping this major step forward. Beyond conventional business decisions, Costco’s action reaffirms the transformative potential of informed consumer choices and the influence that conscientious retailers can exert in promoting healthier alternatives. With glyphosate-related products discontinued in a giant like Coscto, other industry giants can be prompted to reevaluate their ties to potentially harmful substances.

The case of DeWayne Johnson, who linked his terminal cancer to glyphosate exposure, further emphasized the gravity of the issue. Empowered by the momentum generated by groups like Moms Across America, consumers have aimed to raise awareness about glyphosate’s potential risks, urging retailers to rethink their product offerings. The success of petitions, exemplified by Moms Across America’s campaign accumulating over 150,000 signatures, underscores the extent of public support for transformative actions.

Evaluating Impact and Anticipating Industry Changes

In the aftermath of a 2015 verdict wherein a federal jury awarded an $80 million settlement against Monsanto in a Roundup-related cancer case, the discourse surrounding glyphosate further intensified. Responding to consumer concerns and the advocacy of groups like Moms Across America, Costco ceased ordering Roundup and glyphosate-based herbicides. While Monsanto maintains its position on glyphosate’s safety and intends to challenge unfavorable verdicts, the repercussions of major retailers like Costco discontinuing Roundup sales have been felt.

Costco Paving the Way for a Healthier Consumer Landscape

The transformative step taken by Costco in 2015 to remove Roundup and glyphosate herbicides marked a pivotal moment in the retail landscape. This stride underlines the transformative potential of consumer-driven activism and amplifies the call for products prioritizing health and safety. This is a statement made by Costco, and the aftermath of this decision may catalyze similar shifts among industry peers. Amid ongoing debates surrounding glyphosate, Costco’s pioneering move serves as a testament to the increasing influence of collective voices in shaping consumer practices, redefining business norms, and propelling a more health-conscious world.


  2. Costco stops selling controversial Roundup weedkiller.” Big Think. Stephen Johnson. March 29, 2019.