For the past two years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for the weedkiller glyphosate, but the agency hasn’t released any results of their findings. This week The Guardian used a freedom of information request to discover that the FDA has had “trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide.” Not only that, but the levels tested are higher than the legal limit allowed in foods.
Glyphosate is best known as the weedkiller in Monsanto’s Roundup products and it is sprayed directly onto crops and soil to suppress weeds. It is used on everything from corn, soybean, wheat, oats, to spinach and almonds. Internal FDA documents show that scientists have found traces of glyphosate in a wide variety of foods. “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote in an email in January 2017. In fact, the only food Thompson readily found that was glyphosate-free was broccoli.
These tests are the first time the FDA has attempted to figure out how much of the weedkiller is showing up in our food. Many groups have criticized the FDA for taking so long to do so because glyphosate is a commonly-used chemical that has been utilized in food production for four decades. It was declared a possible carcinogen in 2015.
In another email, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found glyphosate levels of 6.5 parts per million, well above the legal limit of 5.0 ppm. Normally this would be reported to the EPA, but a supervisor at the FDA claims that the food used in the testing was not an “official sample.” We should be able to expect an official report by 2019. That report should also include information on other herbicides used in food production.
Via The Guardian