Pesticides. They contaminate soil, water, ground, and other flora. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be harmful to birds, fish, useful insects such as bees, and other flora. And in case you aren’t yet convinced, they’re harmful to humans as well.
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide developed in the 1970s by Monsanto. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world. Since 1974, 1.8 million TONS have been sprayed in America alone (imagine how much it would be once you count all of our imported foods!).
How Glyphosate Gets On Your Plate
To avoid using a grain dryer and to force plants to mature faster, farmers employed a new use of pesticides starting back in the 1980s. Pre-harvest crop desiccation: spraying with glyphosate three to seven days before harvesting crops. Over 50 percent of all dietary exposure is due to this practice.
Just imagine, the crops are being sprayed just before the food arrives at our tables.
Glyphosate linked to Celiac Disease
“Wheat-based products are showing up with a lot of glyphosate on them, and glyphosate interferes with protein digestion,” says Stephanie Seneff, a senior research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Glyphosate linked to Cancer
Last week, a jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a groundskeeper who continuously used Roundup herbicide, while working at a school. Dewayne Johnson developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Three expert scientists testified in the case that the disease is linked to glyphosate exposure. The jury found the widely used herbicide contributed to his condition.
What then should consumers be aware of when choosing food for their families?
Pesticide Culprits: Which Foods Have Glyphosate Content In Them?
There is mounting evidence that glyphosphate is making its way into everyday foods. While some of the findings are speculative or deemed not “official” by the FDA, they are still worrisome:
- Soy: Genetically Modified soy is the number one GM crop plant in the world.
- Granola –Using samples he brought to the lab from home, FDA chemist Richard Thompson conducted studies and found glyphosate present. The FDA has not yet released these studies.
- Honey: In 2016, former FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found various levels of glyphosate in different kinds of honey. The FDA has not made this public.[1,4]
- Oatmeal: Chamkasem also analyzed oatmeal and found glyphosate residues. He was reassigned by the FDA shortly after. His findings were not included in the agency’s official glyphosate residue assignment.
- Wheat crackers: Internal emails showed that Thompson also found glyphosate in wheat crackers. Though the lab work has not been released by the FDA.[1,5]
- Cereals: Anresco Laboratories reported that traces of Glyphosate were found in Cheerios and also identified in Special K cereal.[1,5]
- Corn: Richard Thompson’s analysis found glyphosate in corn meal he tested. The FDA maintains that the levels of glyphosate in the crop are within legal limits.[1,6]
The Dirty Dozen
The Dirty dozen plus list, developed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), brings to light conventionally grown foods with the highest quantity and/or concentration of various pesticides.
Spinach had quite high concentrations of permethrin, a neurotoxin and 80 percent of apples tested contained diphenylamine (banned in Europe).
Out of all crops, potatoes contained the most pesticides by weight. Chlorpropham is the highest detected pesticides on potatoes.
- Bell peppers+ Hot Peppers
The Organic Option
After reading the above list, you may be asking yourself: So, what can I eat?
Studies on conventionally grown food show an overwhelming presence of pesticides. However, the same study done on GM soybeans was performed on organic soybeans. The organic samples tested negative for glyphosates.
You can go chemical free by growing your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Join a community garden like the one in a neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. Check out these tips for perennial vegetables you can plant in your own garden. Choose organic produce from the grocery store. Shop your local Farmers’ Market. You can also choose to eat from the “Clean 15” list, created by the EWG to represent which foods have the lowest risk of pesticide exposure even if you don’t buy organic:
- sweet corn
- frozen sweet peas
- honeydew melons
- Carey Wedler, et al. (2018) A Jury Found Monsanto’s Roundup Caused a Man’s Cancer: Here Are 7 Foods It’s Found In Retrieved from https://theantimedia.com/monsanto-roundup-cancer-7-foods/ accessed August 16, 2018.
- Ben Hewitt, et al. (2017) Why farmers are using glyphosate to kill their crops — and what it might mean for you. Retrieved from https://ensia.com/features/glyphosate-drying/ accessed August 16, 2018.
- Genetically Modified Crops – Statistics & Facts. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/2062/genetically-modified-crops/ accessed August 16, 2018
- Carey Gillam, et al. (2017) FDA Finds Monsanto’s Weed Killer In U.S. Honey. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/fda-finds-monsantos-weed_b_12008680.html accessed August 17, 2018.
- Carey Gillam, et al. (2016) Anti-GMO activist-funded lab tests find micro-traces of glyphosate in popular foods | Genetic Literacy Project. Retrieved from https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/11/16/anti-gmo-activist-funded-lab-tests-find-micro-traces-glyphosate-popular-foods/ accessed August 16, 2018.
- Lorraine Chow, et al. (2018) Glyphosate Detected in Granola and Crackers, FDA Emails Show. Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/glyphosate-foods-fda-tests-2564658591.html accessed August 17, 2018.
- Dirty Dozen EWG’s 2018 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty-dozen.php accessed August 17, 2018.
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