Thanks to a recent ruling in a San Francisco courtroom, Monsanto, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, is now under fire for its widely used herbicide: Roundup.

Dewayne Johnson, a 46-year-old former groundskeeper, filed suit against Monsanto claiming that he developed a terminal form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from his exposure to Roundup. He said the company acted in malice and did not do enough to warn customers of the potential dangers of repeated exposure.

The jury ruled in favor of Johnson, and he was awarded $289 million dollars in damages. Now, the future of Monsanto remains up in the air. Over 4,000 similar cases against the chemical giant are waiting to be heard.

Monsanto is expected to appeal the court's recent decision, and they will continue to “vigorously defend their product,” according to Vice President Scott Partridge.

What's the big hold-up with Roundup?

Roundup has become an integral part of the agricultural production industry. Internationally, farmers rely on Roundup as a herbicide. But it's unclear whether or not glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is carcinogenic. The EPA says it’s safe. However, an international cancer research institutes said it’s "probably" harmful to humans.

Contradictory research continues to cloud the judgment of farmers and industry leaders. Even after the courtroom decision, the big question still remains: is glyphosate safe or not?

Is vinegar a viable alternative to Roundup? Let's break it down.

Vinegar is acetic acid.

It works by chemically burning the plant until the leaves are gone. Most plants will begin to wilt in less than 24 hours.  Vinegar can be diluted to be stronger or weaker; it just depends on the specific application such as gardening or general cleaning. For example, Green Gobbler sells 20% and 30% Vinegar Home & Outdoor to best fit a specific task.

As you may know, vinegar is made from corn. It’s naturally acidic, so it’s power comes solely from Mother Nature. You won’t find phosphates, sulfates, VOCs, petroleum solvents, chlorine, fluorine, ethoxylates or dyes in vinegar. You especially won’t find glyphosate.

Why hasn't it been adopted into mainstream use?

According to The University of Maryland, vinegar (acetic acid) has a few simple cons. Vinegar is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it kills or damages any plant that it touches, including grass. Also, it doesn’t carry itself into the roots like glyphosate.

Glyphosate is residual and sticks to a plant to ensure its demise. Right now, glyphosate is only slightly more desirable, especially for large-scale maintenance. But its popularity and reputation are quickly on the decline because of its link to health problems.

For independent farmers and gardeners, vinegar is the better option.  The options are out there, and we invite you to explore them. Talk to other farmers and see if vinegar is a viable option for your crops.