Monsanto, Glyphosate, Cancer

Glyphosate Contamination Goes Beyond Oat Products, Found in Wheat-Based Foods

By Alexis Temkin and Olga Naidenko, Environmental Working Group
28 February 19

Seems like every time a government agency or public interest group tests food for Monsanto’s weedkiller glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer, they find it.

Last year, two rounds of tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup and the most widely used herbicide in the world – in more than 95 percent of popular oat-based food samples. Today we are releasing the results of tests of 12 wheat-based products, including five samples of dried pasta and seven samples of cereal.

Glyphosate was detected in all of the wheat-based foods. Pasta samples contained glyphosate at levels ranging from 60 to 150 parts per billion. Cereal samples had lower levels, with most just above the limit of detection, possibly due to the variety of wheat used or cross contamination.

* Single samples of pasta products were tested, and three samples of the same cereal brand were tested for glyphosate. ND = none detected. EWG test methodology can be found in previous reports on glyphosate in oat-based products. Source: EWG, from independent laboratory tests. Methodology can be found in previous EWG reports on glyphosate in oat-based products.

Backing up our findings, recent tests by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found glyphosate contamination in 80 to 90 percent of popular wheat-based products such as pizza, crackers and pasta.

Source: EWG, translated and adapted from reports by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Last fall, the Food and Drug Administration released long-awaited test data of glyphosate in foods, which found the weedkiller in 63 percent of corn samples and 67 percent of soybean samples. Yet the agency failed to include other foods in which glyphosate is likely to be found, including those made with oats and wheat.

Most glyphosate is sprayed on “Roundup ready” corn and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. Increasingly, glyphosate is also sprayed just before harvest on wheat, barley, oats and beans that are not genetically engineered. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner than if the plant were allowed to die naturally.

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According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, in 2017 approximately 12.4 million pounds of glyphosate were applied to various varieties of wheat grown in the U.S. Of those varieties, more than 58 percent of the acreage of durum wheat, commonly used to make pasta, was sprayed with glyphosate.

While U.S. government agencies continue to fall short of their responsibilities, EWG and other public interest organizations have continued our efforts to bring Americans the truth about glyphosate in our food.

Earlier this month, Friends of the Earth tested 30 samples of oat products and 27 samples of dry pinto beans, and found glyphosate in every sample tested. And on Monday, U.S. PIRG released results of tests on 15 beers and five wines. In all but one of the samples, glyphosate was found at levels five to 100 times lower than what is found in oats.

Earlier tests by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from 2015–2016 found glyphosate in other grain and bean products, including buckwheat and barley, kidney and pinto beans, and chickpea products. The Canadian public interest groups Environmental Defence and Équiterre followed up on these results, with tests that found glyphosate in hummus and several wheat-based products, like crackers and tortillas.

Understanding the scope of glyphosate contamination in our food supply is critical to protecting public health, as more scientific evidence continues to link glyphosate with cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the latest research on glyphosate and cancer risk, researchers analyzed several studies on exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides and cancer in agricultural workers and identified a 41 percent increase in cancer risk for the highest exposed group.

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Glyphosate should not be found in food, especially those frequently consumed by children. Help EWG get glyphosate out of our food. Sign our petition and urge food companies like General Mills, Quaker and Kellogg’s to stop using crops sprayed with glyphosate.


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