by Jason Best – Takepart.com
Just how much of Monsanto’s most popular weed killer are you eating every morning for breakfast? A study finds the world’s most widely used herbicide turning up in a bunch of morning favorites.
The ANH tested 24 store-bought breakfast items, including organic products, and found glyophosate residues in almost half of them. Given that glyphosate is the most widely used agrochemical on the market, sprayed on upwards of 90 percent of staple crops such as corn and soybeans, the findings might at first glance seem like a surprise that really comes as no surprise.
But what’s alarming is that glyphosate residues were found on a bunch of products that either in and of themselves or based on their primary ingredients aren’t typically associated with heavy use of the herbicide. Conventionally grown wheat, for example, which would be used to make whole-wheat bread, isn’t a crop on which glyphosate is often heavily applied, and you’d certainly expect organic multigrain bagels to be free of the chemical. Yet both were shown to have traces of the herbicide. Furthermore, the ANH analysis found glyphosate in organic dairy-based coffee creamer and eggs—and the amount detected in cage-free organic eggs actually exceeded the federal government’s tolerance levels for the chemical. Overall, the results further underscore the out-of-control pervasiveness of glyphosate across the American farmscape.
So how do the results of the ANH tests compare with the federal government’s own tests of the amount of glyphosate lingering in our food? Good question. In a classic case of the feds’ all-too-typical cart-before-the-horse approach to regulating agrochemicals, big chemical makers like Monsanto have been allowed to nearly flood the market with glyphosate for the past 20 years, yet it wasn’t until this past February that the Food and Drug Administration announced it would finally begin testing food sold in the U.S. for glyphosate residue. (Meanwhile, the level of acceptable residue, which is set by the Environmental Protection Agency, was relaxed a few years ago.)
Thus, it’s hard to say how worried the average American should be about scarfing down his morning bowl of glyphosate-laced corn flakes or sipping his coffee spiked with glyphosate-laced creamer. The ANH freely acknowledges that the amounts of glyphosate found in the products it tested all fall well below the levels the federal government deems acceptable for each specific food, with the exception of those eggs. Yet whether those levels are stringent enough to protect public health is a topic of increasingly intense debate, especially in the wake of glyphosate’s designation as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. As the ANH report points out, the standards set by the EPA for glyphosate “have not been rigorously tested for all foods and all age groups. Nor have the effects of other [chemical] ingredients in glyphosate formulations been evaluated.”
“Evidence linking glyphosate with the increased incidence of a host of cancers is reason for immediate reevaluation by the EPA and FDA,” the authors added.