While many of us have long suspected that glyphosate is present in many popular American food items, new laboratory testing has finally confirmed what we already knew: Many foods are contaminated with the cancer-causing herbicide.
The analysis was conducted in an FDA-registered laboratory and commissioned by the campaigning group, Food Democracy Now!, along with The Detox Project. Researchers analyzed 29 different popular food items using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), which is widely regarded as the “gold standard” of testing methods, and the most reliable technique for measuring glyphosate residues. Together, the two organizations released a report in mid-November to unveil their findings.
Ironically, the findings of these independent groups have arrived at approximately the same time as the FDA’s announcement that they would be suspending the federal government’s analysis of the herbicide’s presence in food.
Earlier this year, a “special project” – as the FDA refers to it – was launched by the federal agency, finally, to analyze certain foods for glyphosate residues. Naturally, this project wasn’t launched until after the agency was criticized by the US Government Accountability Office for their failure to include the herbicide in their regular testing programs.
According to FDA officials, glyphosate testing has been placed on hold for several different reasons. The agency has claimed that some of their laboratories have been having problems with their testing equipment, but officials also contend that their delay has been caused by confusion, disagreement and difficulties with establishing a standard methodology to be used at their various labs located across the states. It almost sounds like the agency is admitting to their own ineptitude, doesn’t it?
What is truly mind-boggling, however, is that Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project were able to use an FDA-registered lab and conduct their research just fine.
Megan McSeveney, a spokeswoman for the FDA, confirmed the suspension, and noted that the federal agency is not sure when testing will continue. At least we have independent research to replace the work our government appears to be incapable of completing.
Glyphosate has become an extremely controversial herbicide, both for its widespread use and for its classification as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Glyphosate is actually the world’s most-used herbicide, and is used on more than 175 million acres of land just in the United States. So, you can see where that would be rather concerning. Recent research has revealed that glyphosate can be a threat to human health even in very, very small amounts – even at 0.1 parts per billion (ppb). Many foods tested by Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project contained far more glyphosate than that.
General Mills’ Cheerios, perhaps one of our nation’s most ubiquitous and iconic cereals, was found to contain a whopping 1,125.3 ppb of glyphosate residue. Ritz crackers contained just over 270 ppb of the herbicide. More shocking, perhaps, was the amount of glyphosate found in a Kashi product. Kashi is often seen as a “health food” brand, but their soft-baked oatmeal dark chocolate cookies contained more glyphosate residue than Ritz crackers, at just over 275 ppb. Glyphosate is even used on non-GM crops as a way to dry them out and speed up the harvesting process. The pervasiveness of this toxic herbicide is almost astounding.
In their executive summary, the independent organizations note, “New research shows that Roundup causes liver and kidney damage in rats as reflected in changes in the functions of 4,000 genes at only 0.05 parts per billion (ppb) glyphosate equivalent indicating damage.” They note that further studies have shown that current allowable amount of glyphosate in drinking water – 700 ppb – has been found to be toxic to the livers and kidneys of rodents, causing significant amounts of damage to those internal organs.
The authors of the new report also criticized US regulators for setting an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of glyphosate that is considerably higher than what any other country considers to be safe. The ADI for glyphosate in the US currently sits at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day, while the European Union has set their ADI at 0.3. Clearly, something isn’t adding up.
In their summary, the authors state, “It’s important for individuals and parents to understand that glyphosate contamination cannot be removed by washing and is not broken down by cooking or baking. Glyphosate residues can remain stable in food for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen or processed.”
You can read the full report here.