FDA to Start Testing for Glyphosate in Food!

Thirty years ago, a committee from the EPA determined that glyphosate might cause cancer, but then a couple years later, they reversed their decision. Given the growing public concern over its use and after the WHO’s cancer experts declared the chemical a potential human carcinogen, the issue is back. And because of this, the FDA is set to begin testing certain foods for glyphosate residue.

The FDA has called the issue sensitive and won’t provide details on how (or when) they are going to test but did say the following: “The agency is now considering assignments for Fiscal Year 2016 to measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods,” reports Civil Eats. As soybeans and corn are two of the most commonly grown GMO’s that are sprayed with glyphosate (and a “foundation” food of many processed items), this is a good place to start.

Interestingly, the FDA and USDA routinely test foods for pesticide residues but skip glyphosate testing because they claim it is too expensive (and not necessary to protect public health).

From the Civil Eats article:

“The start-up costs to implement selective residue methods for glyphosate at six FDA testing laboratories is pegged at about $5 million, according to a statement the FDA gave the GAO after the GAO criticized FDA for not testing for glyphosate in a 2014 audit. The GAO reported that it found multiple deficiencies in the FDA’s pesticide residue testing program, and specifically cited a failure to test for glyphosate, which the GAO called the ‘most used agricultural pesticide’.”

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Patented by Monsanto in the 1970s, it quickly became popular for its ability to kill the toughest weeds. After “Roundup Ready” crops were introduced in the mid-1990s, glyphosate use rose quickly. These plants, genetically engineered to be immune to glyphosate, could be directly sprayed with the herbicide, by the farmer. I can remember my Dad giving me the spray bottle of Roundup to use in the front yard. No one batted an eye. I shudder to think of it now.

Monsanto makes about $5 billion annually from glyphosate, so they have a considerable amount of skin in the game. The company says that there is no valid evidence that links glyphosate to disease or illness and that trace amounts of the herbicide shouldn’t be feared. However, critics say several studies show the opposite, linking glyphosate to human health ailments like non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney and liver problems. In fact, over the last couple of years, private companies and consumer groups have had their own testing done and claim to have found glyphosate residue in breast milk, honey, cereal, wheat flour, soy sauce, infant formula and still other substances.

Reflecting on the possibility of FDA testing for glyphosate residues, Monsanto had this to say:

“While FDA hasn’t officially confirmed to us that they plan to move forward with residue testing, glyphosate’s 40-year history of safe use has been upheld by the U.S. EPA and regulators around the world following decades of study and review.  No data have ever indicated residue levels of more than a fraction of EPA’s very conservative Allowable Daily Intake or any level of concern.  If FDA does move forward with additional testing in a scientifically rigorous manner, we are confident it will reaffirm the long-standing safety profile of this vital tool used safely and effectively by farmers, landowners and homeowners around the world.”

Oh my. We shall see Monsanto. We shall see.

Health Nuts, you know we will be watching this closely.

Source: Civil Eats and The NY Times