A toxic pesticide linked to cancer and autism, glyphosate, is pervasive in agriculture and a new study reveals it has even made its way into California wines. The testing, reported by national coalition for GMO awareness Moms Across America, found traces of glyphosate in 100 percent of wines evaluated, including organic and biodynamically produced wines that are made from grapes grown without direct pesticide applications. Ten different wines from Napa Valley, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties were all found to contain glyphosate, suggesting the chemical drifts from conventional farms and lands just about everywhere.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup as well as 700 other herbicidal products. Last year, the World Health Organization officially declared the chemical a “probable” carcinogen. Since then, a number of countries have implemented legislation to ban or limit its use, including France, Brazil, and the Netherlands. Although the herbicide hasn’t been outlawed anywhere in America yet, many states have increased its hazard rating and reduced its usage. However, glyphosate-based herbicides are still being used regularly along public roadsides, in community parks, and even on school grounds.
The report (PDF) revealing glyphosate contamination in wines has raised eyebrows across the state, because it proves that conventional farms that use glyphosate products are interfering, albeit unintentionally, with growers who seek to avoid potentially harmful chemicals. This puts consumers in a dark and dangerous place because products they believe are safe may actually be contaminated with the same chemicals used in non-organic farms. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t currently require any product labeling for glyphosate usage anyway, so at this point consumers are left with no choice but to assume the potentially cancer-causing chemical is in everything. Of the wines tested, the highest level of glyphosate detected (in a conventionally grown 2013 Cabernet Savignon) was more than 28 times the amount found in the other samples.
The FDA quietly announced last month that it will begin testing for glyphosate levels in food products, but there is no indication at this time that will lead to new regulations or restrictions on the herbicide’s usage. Meanwhile, Monsanto has filed lawsuits in several states, including California, to block lawmakers from warning consumers about the dangers the chemical is known to pose.