According to internal FDA documents procured through a freedom of information request by The Guardian, traces of a weedkiller known to cause cancer have been found in many types of commonly bought and consumed food. The compound in question is glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in herbicides including Monsanto’s Roundup. The emails are from the FDA’s first-ever efforts to learn the levels of glyphosate in food being consumed by Americans. However, glyphosate has been in use for over 40 years, and the FDA is supposed to test food for traces of pesticide every year.
A string of January 2017 emails revealed important information about glyphosate levels in food, as evidenced by exchanges between FDA chemists and their colleagues. Chemist Richard Thompson, for example, reported on his findings.
“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount [of glyphosate] in all of them.”
Another FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem also found glyphosate levels that were over the legal limit in corn. The allowable limit is 5.0 parts per million, but the corn they tested had 6.5 ppm. Other samples that had traces of the weedkiller were honey and oatmeal. However, no action was taken, and the Environmental Protection Agency was not notified because the findings by Thompson and Chamkasem aren’t considered to be an official sample. Not only that, the FDA shut down further testing by Chamkasem’s lab.
Additionally, the FDA is keeping mum about the findings discussed in the obtained emails. An FDA spokesman said that no illegal levels of glyphosate were found in corn, soy, milk, or eggs, even though the procured emails paint a completely different story.
Moreover, glyphosate isn’t the only compound that people should be worried about. Herbicide 2.4-D and dicamba are being used on new GMO crops.
An official FDA report for 2016 is expected to be released late 2018 or early 2019. The US Department of Agriculture also announced that they would start testing food for glyphosate starting in 2017, but decided not to follow through.
The effects of glyphosate include increased risk of cancer and shorter pregnancies, reported EcoWatch. A study published in Environmental Health showed that in a study where 93 percent of pregnant women had glyphosate traces in their urine, women with higher levels of glyphosate gave birth earlier than those with lower levels of glyphosate.