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Daily News Blog

28
Aug

Residue Tests Find More Glyphosate in Popular Cereals

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2018) Reinforcing findings of glyphosate residues in numerous food products, high levels of the herbicide is found in Cheerios and other popular oat-based food products, according to a study conducted by Environmental Working Group (EWG). The news comes at a time of increased public attention to the weed killer, following a landmark court case that resulted in a $289 million verdict for a school groundskeeper who presented evidence that regular glyphosate use caused him to develop cancer. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been found in popular foods, as the prior research has found similar results, and the chemical has also been detected in “100% pure” honey, Doritos, Oreos, Goldfish, Ritz Crackers, German beers, California wines, and UK bread. Glyphosate has been ranked as potentially cancer causing in humans and adversely affects the human gut microbiome.

EWG tested 45 different conventionally grown oat products, and 16 organic items. Results found glyphosate in nearly every conventional product, 43 out of 45, and 5 of the 16 organic products. However, conventional products generally contained much higher levels of glyphosate than those which were organic certified (typically caused by chemical drift from neighboring chemical-intensive farms and environmental contamination). Allowed levels of glyphosate on foods vary by product, however EWG indicates that ingesting amounts higher than 160 parts per billion each day is likely to lead to a 1 in 1,000,000 risk of cancer. While no organic foods hit that benchmark, 31 conventional foods did.

The highest residue levels were found in Quaker Old Fashioned Oats at over 1,000 ppb. Cheerios also contained levels near 500 ppb. Although the detections in organic food are concerning, they represent the impact of the widespread use of glyphosate in agriculture. Nature’s Path, an organic brand that had foods with low levels of glyphosate, told EWG of the detection, “While this news may come as disappointing, it is not entirely surprising. Glyphosate use has skyrocketed in the past decade, and it maintains the ability to adhere to water and soil particles long enough to travel through the air or in a stream to nearby organic farms.”

While the Food and Drug Administration has conducted internal testing for glyphosate, results have not been formally released to the public, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cancelled further testing in March of last year.

The ubiquitous presence of glyphosate in our food and environment, coupled with growing evidence of its harm, underlines the urgent need to move away from the toxic agricultural system the herbicide perpetuates. Rather than approve new cropping systems that employ glyphosate and other older, hazardous pesticides, leading to widespread weed resistance, federal agencies should encourage the promotion of organic farming systems that never use glyphosate or other toxic synthetic pesticides in their growing practices.

You can help reduce glyphosate in the environment by avoiding conventional products, and opting for organic whenever possible. Take further action by getting involved in this issue at the community level, where you can work towards policies that restrict not only glyphosate, but a full range of toxic synthetic pesticides. Take action today by telling your local leaders to take a precautionary approach to pesticide use.

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

Source: Environmental Working Group

 

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