Let’s Talk Food: Is glyphosate in our foods?

CNN reported that glyphosate, the herbicide in Roundup, is present in oatmeal, oat cereal, granola and snack bars, many of them being marketed for children.

And although the health effects of glyphosate remain uncertain, the Superior Court of San Francisco awarded $289 million dollars to a groundskeeper with terminal cancer. California state scientists and the World Health Organization found that glyphosate is linked to cancer, which could have influenced the courts to make that decision.

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Many studies of the effects on humans since Monsanto first introduced Roundup in 1974 might possibly have been slanted to Monsanto, and a conflict of interest as they tried to influence the Environmental Protection Agency so it could continue to allow the use the glyphosate in the United States.

In August 2017 the Munich Environmental Institute reported there was “concerning traces of the herbicide glyphosate in beers.” German beer is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, which allows beer to be made with only water, hops and malt. So the report looked at the water as the possible culprit. An earlier study published in February 2016 stated that traces were everywhere, even in organic foods, possibly because of soil contamination and wind drift. Previous urine samples taken in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 of 20- to 29-year-old individuals living in Greifwald, a city in northeastern Germany, found 127 of 399 samples collected contained glyphosate concentrations at or above the limit of 0.1 parts per billion. Another study in March 2016 in Germany showed glyphosate enters the body through food and drinking water, and 75 percent of the study group showed levels five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water.

Keep in mind that Roundup in owned by Germany’s Bayer Company, which was purchased in 2018.

But Germany does not stand for such nonsense and although not yet prohibited, the people hopefully will ban it soon. Countries that already banned glyphosate are Belgium, Bermuda, Colombia, Netherland, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

In October 2018, Alexis Temkin, Ph.D, toxicologist, working with the Environmental Working Group found glyphosate in every sample of popular oat-based cereal and other oat-based food marketed to children.

“Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison Roundup, according to independent lab tests commissioned by the EWG.” Almost three-fourths of the samples had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider safe for children’s consumption. The benchmark, according to the EWG, is the daily exposure of no more than 160 ppb.

The study showed that Quaker Old Fashioned Oats contains 390 ppb, Quaker Steel Cuts Oats with 530 ppb, Back to Natural Organic Honey Almond Granola with 620 ppb, Quaker Dinosaur Eggs Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal with 620 ppb and Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal with 490 ppb. Those with no trace of glyphosate include Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond Granola, Simple Truth Organic Instant Oatmeal, Original Kashi Heart to Heart Organic Honey Toasted Cereal, Cascadian Farm Organic Harvest Berry Granola Bar, KIND Oats and Honey with Toasted Coconut, 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats and Bob’s Red Mill Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.

In response to this study, Quaker said, “Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process. Glyphosate is commonly used by farmers across the industry who apply it pre-harvest. Once the oats are transported to us, we put them through our rigorous process that thoroughly cleanses them (de-hulled, cleaned, roasted and flaked). Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits and well within compliance of the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission as safe for human consumption.”

According the the National Wheat Foundation, “Glyphosate-based herbicides are frequently used by farmers because they are a simple and cost-effective way of controlling many types of weeds.”

The Organic Consumers Association found Post Shredded Wheat, analyzed at an independent lab in California, had 0.18 parts per million of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the No. 1 herbicide in the United States, and each year more than 250 million pounds are sprayed on American crops.

I have sinus problems when I eat wheat products and have chosen not to eat any bread or other wheat products. Now I am going to limit my consumption of oats. The EWG website has a petition to food companies such as General Mills, Quaker and Kellogg’s to get glyphosates out of our food with the following ending statement, “This dangerous chemical shouldn’t be anywhere near my food, but recent EWG analysis has found glyphosate in at least one of your products. This is unacceptable. Consumers expect better of you. I urge you to ensure your products are free of cancer causing glyphosate!”

I signed the petition, as I cannot fight this battle alone!

Foodie bites

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Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts Cafeteria is open 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today through Friday. Call 934-2559 for takeout orders, check if poke bowls, poke bombs and chirashi bowls are available and also to check out the desserts of the day (pies, cakes, cookies).

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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