Pesticulture

The revelation from WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) back in 2015 that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen has led to consumers around the world asking for transparency regarding the levels of glyphosate in their food.

Now a Glyphosate Residue Free certification for U.S. food products has been launched by The Detox Project, in a move to give consumers a way of avoiding the ‘probably carcinogenic’ chemical.

Glyphosate is the most used pesticide in the World and has the highest public profile of any chemical used in food production. It has been found in a range of popular American food products including Raisin Bran, Cheerios, and Ritz Crackers, and has showed up in the urine of 93% of people tested by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

 According to Henry Rowlands, Director of  The Detox Project : “Currently the toxic chemical testing standards for both non-organic and organic food are very weak but we aim to change this by testing food products directly from the shelf – consumers have the right to know what toxic chemicals are in the food they buy at grocery stores across the U.S. The Detox Project is  working with a wide range of food manufacturers and grocery stores in the U.S. to enable consumers to avoid glyphosate and other toxic chemicals in their food – It is time for a shift towards full transparency in the food industry and we aim to help all parties to achieve this.”

 To be certified Glyphosate Residue Free, food products must not contain glyphosate or AMPA residues exceeding the limits of laboratory detection (between 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) and 20 ppb, depending on the product), a standard that is tougher or the same as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s own Maximum Residue Limits   (MRLs).

 

2,4-D, another commonly used weed killer, less frequently mentioned in the press than glysophate, was defined by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  as “possibly” carcinogenic.

A weedkiller found in many products sold for home use, 2,4-D was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on many fruits and vegetables, as well as on corn and soy. It is also a key ingredient in Enlist Duo, a pesticide manufactured by Dow AgroSciences. Since its approval use of 2,4-D, has skyrocketed around the world.  

Those most directly affected by pesticide exposure are farm workers and anyone who lives near where these chemicals are sprayed, including those who may unwittingly use it on their lawns. But the influence of these pesticides in the food system must not to be understated. Though questions remain about the precise health impact, the only sure way to avoid 2,4-D exposure is by buying food that is certified organic.


Despite the nightmare of watching Trump define the FDA as an “obstacle” to prosperity in his vaunted speech to the nation, there still remains some hope that that the fight against pesticulture can be waged successfully on the local level.

Just last November, Sonoma County voted to approve the Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Ordinance, better known as Measure M, that prohibited genetically engineered crops from being planted in the county

“Enacting change in the food movement, or any movement, starts at the local level and the passage of Measure M is an incredible victory for Sonoma farmers and gardeners. Farmers deserve the right to grow food that is not contaminated by genetic engineering, just as the public deserves the right to purchase organic or GMO-free foods that are free from GMO contamination,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety.

Measure M passed by a large margin (55.9% to 44.9%), and Sonoma County now joins several neighboring counties including Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Santa Cruz that have passed similar ballot initiatives to protect farmers and crop integrity.