Roundup, and its key ingredient glyphosate, have been found in organic foods. Find out what that means for you.
Understanding Glyphosate in Organic Food
Organic foods continue to rise in popularity as Americans try to make more informed choices about the foods they consume to improve their overall health. At least one study has found a strong correlation between eating organic foods free from pesticides and a dramatic reduction in the risk of cancer.
Unfortunately, just because food is labeled organic doesn’t always guarantee that it is free from harmful chemicals. Notably, at least one chemical Americans are trying to protect their families from—glyphosate—has been found in organic foods.
Glyphosate is the primary active ingredient in Roundup, a popular weed killer produced by Bayer, and is not something you want in your food. It has been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” meaning it is likely a cancer-causing compound.
Unfortunately, glyphosate has been found in all sorts of places, including our food. Studies have found foods that contain glyphosate to include the following: non-organic hummus and chickpeas, beer and wine, and oats, granolas, and snack bars. Studies have even found glyphosate in organic food.
If dangerous glyphosate is found in our food, it will be found in us. Notably, one study found the weed-killing chemical in a majority of U.S. urine samples.
How glyphosate gets into food
Roundup is used by farmers, gardeners, and others across the globe to manage weeds and other plants. Glyphosate works by inhibiting an enzyme that plants need to grow.
Farmers apply glyphosate in many ways. It can be sprayed on fields before seeding, sprayed on some crops throughout the season, or it can be applied just before harvest.
Certain crops are no longer susceptible to the killing effects of glyphosate. These crops are called “Roundup Ready” crops and have been modified to “tolerate specific broad-spectrum herbicides, which kill the surrounding weeds, but leave the cultivated crop intact.” Roundup Ready crops include soybeans, cotton, and corn.
How glyphosate gets into a food can impact the corresponding glyphosate levels in the food. Perhaps the most common way glyphosate gets into food is through direct application. This occurs when glyphosate is sprayed on the crop that is going to be harvested for consumption.
Glyphosate can get into food through soil that was treated with glyphosate, pesticide drift, and even potentially runoff waters. Glyphosate levels in food can also be impacted by food processing steps.
Keep in mind that if you were using glyphosate in the production of food, you may have been exposed to the harmful effects of the chemical through your use of Roundup. If you are suffering from a disease that you think was caused by your Roundup use, reaching out to Guardian Legal Network is an important first step to seeking justice and holding Bayer accountable for your injuries.
Is glyphosate in organic food?
Now that you know how glyphosate can make its way into food, you may be wondering if glyphosate in organic food. That answer is complicated.
The law prohibits farmers from spraying Roundup or other toxic pesticides to grow and harvest crops. However, this does not mean that organic crops are not exposed to glyphosate. Just like regular crops, glyphosate can get into organic food through “pesticide drift from conventional crop fields or contamination at processing and packaging facilities.” Additionally, organic crops can also be potentially exposed to glyphosate through irrigation water or the soil.
Foods that contain glyphosate
Unfortunately, an exhaustive list of foods that contain glyphosate does not exist. However, a number of studies have revealed a surprising array of foods that have been shown to contain glyphosate. Foods that have been shown to contain glyphosate include the following:
- Snack bars
- Orange juice
Several different organizations have been testing foods to understand how glyphosate is penetrating the food industry. One such organization is the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, non-partisan organization. They “commissioned independent labs to conduct three separate rounds of tests” to understand glyphosate levels in “oat-based breakfast foods popular with children.”
The tests found glyphosate in nearly all of the products tested. EWG attributes glyphosate in these foods to the chemical being “sprayed on oats right before harvest to dry them out.” They similarly tested non-organic hummus and chickpeas. It found glyphosate in more than 80% of the food samples tested. The levels were similarly attributed to the chemical being used as a drying agent just before harvest.
What does all this mean?
What can the average consumer do when every meal may contain dangerous glyphosate? You have a couple of options to try to limit the number of chemicals that you and your family consume.
First, you can try to eat organic. While eating organic is not guaranteed to completely eliminate glyphosate from your diet, it should reduce the potential for exposure. Additionally, you can consume less of those foods known to contain glyphosate. You can also choose to grow some of your own foods. If you choose to grow your food, then remember to avoid using the harmful chemicals that you are trying to avoid.
It is also a great opportunity to hold companies accountable. In addition to holding Bayer accountable, consumers should look to the food industry. If you are purchasing organic foods, then you should be able to trust that the organic foods are free of glyphosate. If the organic foods you are consuming have glyphosate, then something is going wrong. How and when the food is being contaminated with glyphosate may indicate a more serious issue. As a consumer, you can continue spreading awareness and questioning where your food comes from and how it is grown and prepared.
Get the Justice You Deserve
Victims of corporate negligence deserve justice. Guardian Legal Network helps people who believe they have gotten cancer from Roundup get the legal help and justice they deserve. If you think that Roundup has caused your cancer, reach out to Guardian Legal Network today. We are here to provide assistance and help you determine your next steps for filing a claim.
- “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 2022, https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Nchs/Nhanes/2013-2014/SSGLYP_H.htm#Analytic_Notes. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “High Levels of Bayer’s Weedkiller Found in Hummus, Chickpeas.” Environmental Working Group, July 2020, https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2020/07/high-levels-bayers-weedkiller-found-hummus-chickpeas. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Ivanova, Irina. “Consumer watchdog finds traces of Roundup weed killer in beer and wine.” CBS News, 25 February 2019, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-in-beer-wine-pirg-finds-traces-of-weed-killer-in-19-of-20-brands/. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Weed-killing chemical linked to cancer found in some children’s breakfast foods.” CBS News, 15 August 2018, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-roundup-chemical-found-in-childrens-breakfast-foods/. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Weed-killing chemical found in majority of U.S. urine samples.” CBS News, 12 July 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-roundup-urine-samples-bayer-monsanto-weed-killing-chemical/. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Roundup for Breakfast, Part 2: In New Tests, Weed Killer Found in All Kids’ Cereals Sampled.” Environmental Working Group, October 2018, https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2018/10/roundup-breakfast-part-2-new-tests-weed-killer-found-all-kids. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “IARC Monograph on Glyphosate.” International Agency for Research on Cancer, https://www.iarc.who.int/featured-news/media-centre-iarc-news-glyphosate/#:~:text=In%20March%202015%2C%20IARC%20classified,of%20%E2%80%9Cpure%E2%80%9D%20glyphosate). Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Massive Study Finds Eating Organic Slashes Cancer Risks.” Environmental Working Group, https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/massive-study-finds-eating-organic-slashes-cancer-risks. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Baudry, Julia, et al. “Association of Frequency of Organic Food Consumption With Cancer Risk.” JAMA Network, December 2018, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2707948. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Securing our food supply for years to come: why farmers choose glyphosate to sustainably grow crops.” Bayer, https://www.bayer.com/en/ca/canada-why-farmers-choose-glyphosate-to-sustainably-grow-crops. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Herbicide Tolerant Crops.” Beyond Pesticides, https://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/genetic-engineering/herbicide-tolerance#:~:text=Glyphosate%20Tolerant%20Crops&text=These%20crops%2C%20commonly%20called%20%E2%80%9CRoundup,engineered%20to%20be%20glyphosate%20resistant. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Ledoux, Michelle, et al. “Penetration of glyphosate into the food supply and the incidental impact on the honey supply and bees.” ScienceDirect, March 2020, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0956713519304487. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- Saunders, Lyndsay and Reza Pezeshki. “Glyphosate in Runoff Waters and in the Root-Zone: A Review.” National Institutes of Health, 26 November 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5606642/. Accessed September 1, 2022.
- “Introduction to Pesticide Drift.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/reducing-pesticide-drift/introduction-pesticide-drift. Accessed September 1, 2022.