We all want our fruits and vegetables to be bug-free, and we don’t mind them being big and delicious. It’s also perfectly understandable that farmers would want to gain the most out of their crops. That’s a lot of why the United States deemed the use of glyphosate safe for public usage back in 1974. Since then, this chemical has been regularly used on crops by American farmers, most often by way of the well-known herbicide, Roundup. Marketed towards both farmers and people with home gardens, Roundup turns out to be potentially incredibly dangerous. Recent studies are finding that this herbicide might have links to cancers and other serious health issues. (1, 2)
What Is Roundup (Glyphosate)?
Glyphosate is a herbicide applied to the leaves of plants in order to kill broadleaf plants and grasses. The salt form of glyphosate is most often used to help regulate plant growth and ripen fruit. Glyphosate is most often used in the United States in agriculture and forestry, on gardens and lawns, for weeds in industrial and farming areas. (2)
Glyphosate is capable of coming in different forms, such as acid or several salts, and it can be solid or liquid. There are over 750 products containing glyphosate, including Roundup, which is arguably the world’s most-used herbicide. Glyphosate is Roundup’s primary ingredient, and since glyphosate it’s a “probable human carcinogen,” Roundup isn’t exactly the safest to be using on our gardens and crops. (1, 2, 3)
There’s Glyphosate in Your Food!
Nobody wants to hear that their food contains possible cancer-causing herbicides, but that seems to be the reality today. According to a 2013 study, glyphosate consumption has resulted in the growth of breast cancer in human beings. This wouldn’t be that big of an issue if it were easy to remove glyphosate from foods. However, Roundup is a popular product. Not only do farmers not want to stop using it because it increases their yield, but they also have no reason to since regulations are on their side. To make matters worse, it’s not like you can simply wash your produce and expect to avoid all glyphosate exposure. Roundup is commonly used on wheat fields, which are then harvested and made into cereals, granola bars, and more. The glyphosate is baked in and unremovable. (4)
Per research accomplished at an FDA-registered laboratory, many of America’s most popular foods contain concerning levels of glyphosate. The dangerous thing about this is that companies are not required to label their products with any kind of glyphosate content warning. This is especially concerning since it’s been shown that even low levels of glyphosate (0.1 parts per billion, or ppb) can pose serious threats to human health. There are highly popular snacks in our supermarkets containing glyphosate levels between 289.47 and 1,125.3 ppb, without any warning included. (5)
What Foods Contain Glyphosate?
Obviously, we want to know what foods are safe and what foods should be avoided if at all possible. Something that’s interesting to note is that different countries have different definitions for what constitutes “safe glyphosate exposure.” The European Union, for instance, is much stricter in terms of glyphosate exposure than the United States. The EU allows only 0.3 mg per kilogram of body weight opposed to the 1.75 mg allowed by the U.S. With varying regulations, it can be difficult to determine what’s actually safe and what’s a dangerous amount of glyphosate exposure. However, if you’re looking to avoid foods containing substantial levels of glyphosate, then consider this incomplete list:
General Mills Products
- This includes Original Cheerios (1125.3 ppb), Honey Nut Cheerios (670.2 ppb), Wheaties (31.2 ppb), Trix (9.9 ppb), and more.
- This includes Cornflakes (78.9 ppb), Raisin Bran (82.9 ppb), Special K. (74.6 ppb), Frosted Flakes (72.8 ppb), Original Cheez-It (24.6 ppb), Whole grain Cheez-It (36.25), and more.
- This includes Ritz crackers (270.24 ppb), Triscuits (89.68 ppb), Original Oreos (289.47 ppb), and more.
- Including PepsiCo Products, Campbell Soup Company products, and more.
It’s important to note that even if a particular farmer or home gardener elects to not use glyphosate on their crops, their crops are still susceptible to contamination. Glyphosate is capable of contaminating organic food crops from nearby fields thanks to the wind, rain, and the nature of herbicide use. While this isn’t to say that no food is safe or that American crops are doomed, it does present a question: what will Americans do to correct the issue and make their food safe?