How glyphosate contamination hinders organic farmers
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified traces of residue from glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer, in some samples of honey and instant oatmeal cereals, The Huffington Post reported.
- The agency recorded up to 1.67 parts per million in certain instant oatmeal cereals and up to 121 nanograms per gram in honey samples. It was found on food that wasn't even treated with the chemical.
- While the U.S. does not have a legal tolerance rate for glyphosate residue, the amount found in select honey samples is twice what is allowed in the European Union, according to documents The Huffington Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
One of the most concerning findings isn't the level of glyphosate residue, but the fact that the agency found it residue even in products whose crops don't receive its treatment. This demonstrates how pervasive this residue can be, even beyond the vast majority of soy and corn crops that farmers treat with Roundup today.
These findings also echo fears that organic farmers have expressed of cross-pollination contamination from glyphosate-treated crops. Per USDA regulations, organic products with the certified label cannot contain glyphosate-treated ingredients.
Farmers' concerns are more than just speculation. A 2013 survey from Food & Water Watch and the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing found that one out of three responding farmers had dealt with GMO contamination on their farm. More than half of those with contaminated crops reported their buyers rejecting their product for that reason, for a median cost of about $4,500 per rejected semi load, or about 1,000 bushels.
For manufacturers, that could mean even less availability of organic ingredients. That could drive up ingredient costs, particularly as demand for organic produce and packaged foods continues to grow. It could also make it more difficult for manufacturers to reliably develop and produce organic products if they aren't certain whether the organic ingredients will be available to adequately serve their customers.
- Food Safety News FDA testing finds weed killer residue in honey, instant oatmeal
- The Huffington Post FDA Finds Monsanto’s Weed Killer In U.S. Honey