This afternoon, I moderated a discussion with Dr. Frank Lipman and Ken Cook, the founder of the Environmental Working Group. The conversation quickly turned to glyphosate, a pesticide routinely and increasingly used on our food here in the United States. In 2015, the World Health Organization declared it a probable carcinogen. Countries around the world are banning it or restricting its use. In the U.S., we don’t even test for it or measure its levels on the food we eat.
This ingredient is found in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. It is the same weedkiller that parents are told to keep out of the reach of children, to NOT store under their kitchen sinks. It is routinely applied to the foods that we eat every single day, unless you purchase organic.
It is time for the USDA to measure and test for levels of Monsanto’s Roundup in our food supply. We can no longer afford to not know what we are eating, not in light of the increasing rates of autism, food allergies, cancer and diabetes. It’s a national security issue. And the United States Department of Agriculture, despite pressure from the pesticide industry, needs to begin testing our food.
Please read the details below, sign the petition and share this link. The time is now. The health of our country depends on knowing what is in our food.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly dropped its plan to begin testing food for the world’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp.1
California has deemed glyphosate a carcinogen, which Monsanto fiercely denies, and two years ago, the World Health Organization labeled the herbicide a probable carcinogen — yet later suggested that residue on food may not be a risk.2
While controversy swirls, one thing is clear: this decision by the USDA is dangerously short-sighted, and the agency must continue its plan to test food for glyphosate to understand the risks of chronic exposure and threat it poses to public health.
The text of the petition to the USDA reads:
Ensure our food supply is safe. Glyphosate has been deemed a probable carcinogen that can be harmful to humans. More research – not less – is needed. Resume plans to test the toxicity of glyphosate in our food. The safety of the American public and its trust in your responsibility to keep our food supply safe depends on it.
Hundreds of millions of pounds of pesticides and herbicides are applied to crops every year, and residue from these chemicals make it into the food we eat. The government’s pesticide testing program is run jointly by the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, and in 2014, the Government Accountability Office found that the USDA and FDA should strengthen its residue testing process.3
Earlier this year, USDA had plans to test corn syrup for glyphosate but has since reversed course without explanation. This news comes just as a stunning New York Times report found possible collusion between the EPA and Monsanto to manipulate the science and risk posed by glyphosate, a subsequent call by California Rep. Ted Lieu for the Justice Department and Congress to conduct a thorough investigation, and lawsuits filed by victims of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma against Monsanto.4,5,6
The health of the public and the safety of our food is simply too important. The government agency tasked with keeping our food safe should not abandon its responsibility.
- Carey Gillam, “USDA Drops Plan To Test For Monsanto Weed Killer In Food,” The Huffington Post, March 23, 2017.
- Mike McPhate, “California Today: Cancer Worries Over a Common Weedkiller,” The New York Times, April 10, 2017.
- FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations,” U.S. Government Accountability Office, October 7, 2014.
- Danny Hakim, “Monsanto Weed Killer Roundup Faces New Doubts on Safety in Unsealed Documents,” The New York Times, March 14, 2017.
- Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. Lieu Statement on New Glyphosate Safety Concerns,” March 15, 2017.
- Mireya Villarreal, “Lawsuit accuses Monsanto of manipulating research to hide Roundup dangers,” CBS News, March 15, 2017.