The Environmental Protection Agency released a statement Friday saying they may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide. This comes after a rise of public concern over links to possible disease.
Glyphosate has been called ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ by the World Health Organization after research was performed. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide. This goes against what the EPA says, as they consider it safe for human consumption.
Many agencies, consumer groups, and advocacy organizations has been trying to find out if glyphosate residues have made it into our urine, breast milk, and food samplings. This herbicide is used on corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat, and other crops which have been genetically altered to withstand it. These grown foods are found in almost every packaged food in one form or another, making it’s way into our body. Glyphosate is being used more often because of the increase in genetically altered crops.
The U.S. government does not test for pesticide residue on the thousands of foods we consume, because it has been deemed safe by the EPA. Based on the EPA’s statements this Friday, this could very well change. Because of growing concern by the consumer, and the groups and organizations pushing for it’s testing, the EPA may start to test for it in the future.
The makers of Roundup, Monsanto Co, did not respond to comment, but has recently posted a blog assuring it’s safety.
In the end, the EPA is relying on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Pesticide Data Program to determine if glyphosate needs to be tested on any commodity or food item. One thing both agencies can agree on, is this would be a costly test.
The USDA has been testing thousands of food samples since 1991, and in 2013 they were testing 400 different pesticides on food, and ground and drinking water. They have only tested glyphosate in one year, that was 2011, on 300 soybean samples. 271 had residues, but all of them fell below the EPA-set level for tolerance.
One way to be safe about what we eat is to try to eat local organic produce if possible, and try to grow as many fruits and vegetables at home. This, hopefully, will help you avoid glyphosate, and have better control of the healthy food you consume.
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