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Daily News Blog

18
Nov

FDA Stops Testing for Glyphosate as New Report Finds High Levels Are Found in Food

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2016)  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended testing for glyphosate residues in food, according to a  statement made to the  Huffington Post. The suspension was announced as a  new report  was released from  Food Democracy Now!  and the Detox Project, which has exposed dangerous levels of glyphosate contamination in popular U.S. foods. Glyphosate has been  found to cause changes to DNA functioning, resulting in chronic disease, and has been  classified as a probable carcinogen  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

glyphosate-roundupIn February 2016, FDA  announced  that it would start testing for glyphosate in food, following  sharp criticism  from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) for not using statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards to collect information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues. Now, the agency has suspended testing amid difficulties establishing a standard methodology to use across the agency’s multiple U.S. laboratories, according to  Huffington Post. It was also reported that there have been problems with the equipment, with some labs needing more sensitive instruments.  FDA spokeswoman Megan McSeveney confirmed the testing suspension to the  Huffington Post,  and said the agency is not sure when it will resume. Ms. McSeveney stated that they had only been testing for glyphosate residues on certain foods, such as soy, corn, milk, eggs, and popcorn.

The new report,  Glyphosate: Unsafe on Any Plate, found high levels of glyphosate contamination in popular American food brands, such as Cheerios, Doritos, Oreos, Goldfish and Ritz Crackers, and Stacy’s Pita Chips. According to the report, the levels that found in these products are above the levels associated with  organ damage  (above 0.1 parts per billion(ppb)). Among 29 different foods tested, the highest levels detected were found in General Mills’ Original Cheerios, at 1,125.3 ppb. Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips were the next highest, at 812.53 ppb. The testing and analysis was performed by Anresco Laboratories, which is an FDA registered laboratory. Glyphosate residues have been detected in a wide variety of foods and products. In March 2016,  Moms Across America released a report  on glyphosate residues in California wines and found  that all of the ten wines tested positive for glyphosate. Other recent reports of the widespread presence of glyphosate residues find the chemical in  breast milk,  in German beers,  feminine hygiene products, and  bread, as well as  in nearly 100% of Germans  tested.

Glyphosate, created by Monsanto, is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by industry. But glyphosate has been shown to have  detrimental impacts  on humans and the environment. Given its widespread use on residential and agricultural sites, its toxicity is of increasing concern. Roundup formulations can induce a dose-dependent formation of DNA adducts (altered forms of DNA linked to chemical exposure, playing a key role in chemical carcinogenesis) in the kidneys and liver of mice. Human cell endocrine disruption on the androgen receptor, inhibition of transcriptional activities on estrogen receptors on HepG2, DNA damage and cytotoxic effects occurring at concentrations well below “acceptable” residues have all been observed.

In June 2016, at a  Congressional briefing  sponsored by U.S Representative Ted Lieu, a delegation of independent scientists including this study’s authors, presented their findings, urging lawmakers to call on the EPA to ban RoundUp (glyphosate). Beyond Pesticides participated on the panel, providing testimony on the impact of glyphosate on soil systems, as well as the unreasonable risk it poses to humans, animals, and the environment. Following the congressional briefing, scientists spoke at a closed meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), explaining the biochemical and physiological reasons why exposure to glyphosate is linked to autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, birth defects, obesity, and gluten intolerance, among other health issues. However, EPA indicated that much of the information provided may not impact their current risk assessment for glyphosate, which is expected sometime in 2017.

Then, in September 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs  released its Glyphosate Issue Paper  in which the agency is proposing to classify glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans at doses relevant for human health risk assessment.” The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) was scheduled to review EPA’s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate on October 18-21, but it was  postponed, due to “recent changes in the availability of experts for the peer review panel.”  However, as veteran journalist, formerly with Reuters, Carey Gillam reports  in the Huffington Post, the move was likely the result of a letter industry front group CropLife America sent to EPA just days before the postponement, challenging the bias of certain experts on the panel. Croplife America is a national trade association that represents manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of pesticides, and has a vested interest in tamping down consumer concerns over glyphosate’s carcinogenicity. Currently, the FIFRA SAP meeting has been  rescheduled  for December 13-16, 2016.

In August, Beyond Pesticides, Organic Consumers Association, and Moms Across America  filed a lawsuit  against General Mills for misleading the public by labeling their Nature Valley brand granola bars “Made with 100% NATURAL whole grain OATS,” after it was discovered that the glyphosate, an ingredient in Roundup and hundreds of other glyphosate-based herbicides, is present in the Nature Valley granola bars.  In November, after Sue Bee honey products labeled “100% Pure” and “Natural” tested positive for  glyphosate  residue, Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed a lawsuit yesterday Sioux Honey Association, for the deceptive and misleading labeling of its Sue Bee and Aunt Sue’s honey brands. Both lawsuits are intended to move consumer demand away from natural products, which are produced in chemical-intensive production systems that have adverse effects on health and the environment, and toward organic, which eliminates the use of toxic pesticides.

Given the mounting evidence of glyphosate’s hazards, environmental groups like Beyond Pesticides are urging localities to restrict or eliminate the use of the widely-used weedkiller, like Tracy Madlener, a mother of two,  successfully did last year. Beyond Pesticides promotes these actions and many more through our  Tools for Change  page. This page is designed to help activists and other concerned citizens organize around a variety of pesticide issues on the local, state, and national level. Learn how to  organize a campaign  and talk to your neighbors about pesticides with our  factsheets. See Beyond Pesticides’ article  Glyphosate Causes Cancer  for more information.

Source:  Huffington Post,  Food Democracy Now!

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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