FACT: Glyphosate is the most heavily used chemical herbicide in human agricultural history so how do we avoid consuming this toxin?
Glyphosate is a toxic herbicide (commonly known by the trade name Roundup) that is used on many US crops, from wheat to soybeans to corn. It is impossible to remove glyphosate from your foods by washing or cooking it. But there are ways to steer clear of glyphosate in foods if you are wise and in the know about food labels. Below is more information about the risks of glyphosate and how to avoid it.
Glyphosate Labeling and What the Law Says
The Roundup label notes that glyphosate focuses on an enzyme that is found in plants but does not exist in people or animals. However, studies show that this enzyme is found in people and pets, according to the groups Organic Consumers Association and Beyond Pesticides. (1).
The link between cancer and glyphosate is quite alarming. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. (2). This decision was made by a group of 17 reviewers from around the globe and was decided based on extensive evidence that suggested the widely used weed killer can cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lung cancer in people. It also can cause cancer in some animals and can lead to chromosomal and DNA damage in mammals and human and animal cells.
Based upon the declaration from the IARC, the state of California took action to require companies such as Monsanto to label food products that contain glyphosate and to include a cancer warning. However, this action was stopped by a federal judge. (3). Nonetheless, more than 8,000 people have filed Roundup lawsuits that allege that they or a family member developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to Roundup exposure.
How to Avoid Glyphosate in Your Foods
In 2016, the groups Food Democracy Now! And The Detox Project started tests that found alarming levels of glyphosate in many foods that Americans consume every day. Some of the products in which glyphosate was found were even certified organic or non-GMO!
What is important to understand is that glyphosate does not merely exist on the exterior of the plant. It is absorbed into the plant. Glyphosate contamination cannot be eliminated by washing, and it cannot be broken down through the cooking or baking process.
Non-GMO Project Verified Label
This label means the product is free of GMOs. This is useful information, but it does not tell you if the food has glyphosate or not. (4).
The best way to avoid foods that have been sprayed with glyphosate is to look for products that feature the USDA Organic label. To obtain this organic certification, food producers may not spray foods with artificial chemical pesticides, including glyphosate. But the use of glyphosate is so widespread today the chemical can contaminate foods where it is not even directly sprayed, even organic crops.
Glyphosate Residue Free Label
The Detox Project, which is a research and certification organization that features an FDA-registered food testing laboratory to check for various toxic chemicals, recently launched the Glyphosate Residue Free label. This program provides greater transparency and gives consumers more assurance that they and their loved ones will not be exposed to glyphosate. The Detox Project also is working with many food producers and manufacturers and grocery stores to have this label put on more products. That way, consumers can easily avoid foods that contain toxic glyphosate.
The first product that was verified to be ‘Glyphosate Residue Free’ is called Leaf & Love Organic Lemonade, and more should be certified as free of glyphosate soon.
More Advice on Foods To Avoid With Glyphosate
Unfortunately, many foods that Americans consume daily may contain glyphosate, and it is often hard to know it. Some of the most common foods with glyphosate include: (1).
- Non-organic cereals and grains that are harvested with glyphosate. These include wheat, barley, buckwheat, millet, rice, oats, wild rice, popcorn, and sorghum.
- The major GMO foods, such as soy, corn, and canola.
- Additives including corn syrup, maltodextrin, fructose, baking powder, natural flavors, and cornstarch.
- Non-organic canola oil.
All prepared foods such as bread, muffins, crackers, cookies, and snacks.
- Pastries, bars, sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, corn sugar, chewing gum, and high fructose corn syrup.
- Non-organic fruits and vegetables including papaya, summer squash, zucchini, potatoes, apples, oranges, lentils, beans, peppermint, peas, spearmint, instant tea and spices.
- Animal foods including alfalfa, corn, hay, fodder and soy, as well as poultry, dairy, and eggs.
- Common prepared foods that have glyphosate in them include potato chips, corn chips, multigrain chips, soy sauce, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, corn tortillas, olive oil, and most canned fish in oil.
- Some nuts, such as almonds and sunflower seeds, may also contain glyphosate.
- Be on the lookout for foods that are only labeled organic; they may legally contain up to 5% non-organic ingredients. Instead, look for prepared foods that are labeled 100% organic.
More Ways to Insulate Yourself from the Dangers of Glyphosate
Some dietary experts have other recommendations to protect you and your loved ones from dangerous glyphosate: (5).
- Eat more foods with sulfur – Some of the most common foods with sulfur are eggs, organic cheese, garlic, and onions. It is important to consume more sulfur because exposure to glyphosate depletes your body of sulfur and also has adverse effects on sulfate pathways. Inadequate sulfate in your brain can impair the ability of the body to remove harmful toxins and metals. Sulfur is also critical for your body’s detoxification process.
- Consume More Dietary Probiotics – Glyphosate is a known antibiotic. This means that it kills important living bacteria in our gut. One way to insulate yourself from this damage is to increase the number of dietary probiotics you consume each day. The best natural sources of probiotics are fermented foods – think sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and apple cider vinegar.
- Take Manganese Supplements – Glyphosate is a strong chelator of some minerals. One mineral that binds well with it is manganese. Studies show that Roundup can deplete manganese levels in plants and animals. Having a deficiency in manganese can cause many health problems, such as poor gut health, cognitive decline, and poor mitochondrial function.
If you keep in mind all of the above information, you should be able to avoid the dangers of glyphosate in your daily diet more easily.
- (1). Avoid These Foods With Monsanto’s Glyphosate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://janeshealthykitchen.com/avoid-these-foods-with-monsantos-glyphosate/
- (2). IARC Monograph on Glyphosate. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.iarc.fr/featured-news/media-centre-iarc-news-glyphosate/
- (3). Federal Judge Rules California Can’t label Glyphosate Herbicide as Cancer Causing. (2017). Retrieved from https://geneticliteracyproject.org/2018/06/15/federal-judge-rules-california-cant-label-glyphosate-herbicide-as-cancer-causing/
- (4). Ask the Nutritionist – Glyphosate in Foods. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.betternutrition.com/ask-the-nutritionist/glyphosate-in-foods
- (5). How to Protect Yourself from Glyphosate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.alexfergus.com/blog/how-to-protect-yourself-from-glyphosate