In Monsanto news this week, the Portuguese Medical Association (PMA) has called for a worldwide glyphosate ban, citing research linking the herbicide to cancer. On a related note, the FDA has announced that it will begin to screen foods for glyphosate.
FDA to Test Foods for Glyphosate
February 17, 2016
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that it will begin to test certain foods for glyphosate, an herbicide that was declared a probable carcinogen last year by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decision comes at a time when the safety of glyphosate has been called into question by a number of health organizations, state governments, and other countries. It also represents the first time in the agency’s history that it will begin testing for glyphosate, which has been used as the active ingredient in herbicides like Monsanto’s Roundup for decades.
Private companies have been testing foods themselves for glyphosate since the results of the WHO study were made public. Some claim to have found traces of the dangerous herbicide in breast milk, infant formula, cereal, honey, soy sauce, wheat flour, and other goods.
FDA spokeswoman Lauren Sucher called the glyphosate issue “sensitive,” but declined to detail any agency plans for the glyphosate testing. Sucher did say that the agency will be looking to potentially measure glyphosate levels in soybeans, corn, eggs, and milk. Genetically-modified corn and soybeans are commonly found in a number of American food products. GMO foods are commonly sprayed with herbicides that contain glyphosate.
The FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) both routinely conduct food testing for hundreds of different types of pesticides, but never included glyphosate for testing. Both agencies claimed testing for glyphosate was simply too expensive, and not necessary for protecting public health.
In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the FDA for not conducting testing on glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world. The GAO reported that at the time, the FDA’s pesticide testing program had a number of deficiencies outside of failing to test glyphosate levels in food.
Civil Eats reports that the cost to get the glyphosate testing underway is estimated to be around $5 million.
While some consumer advocacy groups are happy to hear of the FDA’s move to test glyphosate, others say the USDA is really the agency that needs to be involved in the testing. The USDA’s annual pesticide data program, which has been in operation since 1991, is thought to be the foremost authority on pesticide levels in food.
Portuguese Medical Association President Calls for Worldwide Glyphosate Ban
February 11, 2016
The president of the Portuguese Medical Association (PMA) has called for a worldwide glyphosate ban. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed killer, Roundup, is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. PMA president José Manuel Silva says available data provides clear evidence that glyphosate is hazardous to human health.
The PMA’s announcement for a worldwide glyphosate ban comes almost a year after the World Health Organization called glyphosate a probable carcinogen. Not long after the publication of the WHO glyphosate study, the State of California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) decided to list glyphosate as an agent “known to the state to cause cancer,” pursuant to Proposition 65. California’s decision to label glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical prompted the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotech giant to sue the state.
According to Sustainable Pulse, glyphosate use in the last decade has increased by about 50 percent. More than 130 million tons of glyphosate are used around the world in a given year. As a result of heavy use, glyphosate is routinely found in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and in rainwater and rivers.
Part of the reason for such widespread use of Roundup and other glyphosate-containing herbicides is the worldwide prevalence of Roundup Ready genetically-modified crops, manufactured by Monsanto. Ecowatch states that between 1996 and 2011, the increase in Roundup Ready crops increased the use of herbicides in the U.S. by 527 million pounds. Monsanto claimed that its GMO crops would actually reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides.
Silva also noted three studies that were cited in the IARC research on glyphosate, which found that exposure to the herbicide has been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer that has seen a significant incidence increase within the last 30 years.
Portugal is not the only foreign government to call for a glyphosate ban. The Netherlands issued a glyphosate ban last April, ceasing private sales of the herbicide. France followed suit by announcing a glyphosate ban last June.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to Roundup weed killer and would like more information on filing a Monsanto Roundup lawsuit, please get in touch with the personal injury attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman.