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EPA May Recommend Testing Food Products for Common Herbicide

According to a media report on Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering recommending that the federal government sample food products for glyphosate, the most commonly used herbicide in the world and the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-spraying-machine-working-green-field-image47672304“Given increased public interest in glyphosate, EPA may recommend sampling for glyphosate in the future,” the agency noted in an April 17 email to Reuters.

Glyphosate is commonly used on wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other crops in the U.S. and many other countries. Use of the herbicide has dramatically increased in recent years along with the planting of genetically engineered crops.

While the U.S. government does not specifically test food products for glyphosate residue, it does do testing each year for hundreds of other herbicides and pesticides — along with insecticides, fungicides, and other agricultural chemicals — to make sure residues are not present in food products at levels considered dangerous to human health.

The responsibility for this function is shared between EPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Testing for glyphosate residue has not been systematically done by the federal government so far because the herbicide has been considered safe for use on food crops. However, a recent report from the World Health Organization’s research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stated that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

A Monsanto official responded that the WHO report was not based on any new scientific evidence and called the statement about glyphosate potentially causing cancer a “dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe.”

Last fall, EPA approved the registration of Dow Chemical’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, for use on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. That registration was opposed by numerous groups concerned about the herbicide’s potential effect on human and environmental health.

Reuters reported that, in 2011, USDA did test soybean samples for glysphosate residues and found them in 271 of 300 samples tested. However, the levels found at that time were below the EPA’s tolerance level of 20 parts per million.

© Food Safety News
  • heavyhanded

    Key words are “may” and “future” = never.

  • anthony samsel

    Reuters Carey Gillam spoke with me about those samples as it was my prompting of the USDA to publish those results of 2011. This was a result of my queries to the USDA as to why they were not sampling for glyphosate or glufosinate in the food supply. Gillam, didn’t reveal my conversations with USDA that showed they fudged the results and didn’t report all of the data. The USDA threw out the higher values which brought the residue levels within acceptable residue limits. They analyzed 400 samples, but only reported on 300 of those samples. Also, you can see that they lied by the numbers revealed for glyphosate’s metabolite AMPA. Having done many analysis for glyphosate and AMPA I have never found AMPA incidence higher than glyphosate. The glyphosate numbers are always higher.

    • riverdivine

      Sickening corruption… 🙁

  • SageThinker

    Having studied glyphosate intensively for weeks now, and having a background in microbial community evolution, it seems very likely to me that the levels of glyphosate we see in our food is disturbing our gut microbiome, which is a critical part of the human organism.

    Therefore, i fully support greater testing of residue levels. We can see levels of average 3 mg per kg of glyphosate in soybeans by independent testing, and around 1 mg per kg in many other grains and in sugar. We could really use comprehensive and uniform records of the levels of glyphosate in the food products that are grown and imported.

    These levels are micrograms of glyphosate per meal, which passes through our gut and most likely affects and is taken up in part by the microbes in our gut microbiome, and most likely exerts a selective pressure which changes the population balance of our gut microbiome.

    We need the science to be done, to test for this particular effect, so we have all the facts in relation to this chemical which is in the food of most humans on the planet nowadays, and may be contributing to increased levels of gut-related disease.

  • M. Caskey

    Wish they would test for glyphosate, and be honest with us.