Breakfast of Champions: New Tests Reveal Unsafe Levels of Glyphosate in Children’s Cereals

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Confession: I hate breakfast cereal. I grew up in a 1960s Wonderbread US home. My Mom – a teacher – was big on making sure we each had a proper breakfast before walking down the street to the bus stop and catching the bus to school.

But I simply hated all the options on offer: usually some form of dried cereal, such as Kellogg’s corn flakes (or frosted flakes), or Cheerios. There’s just something about the texture of cold cereal I find repulsive – the thin flakes immediately made soggy by the addition of milk. And I didn’t like the alternative, oatmeal, either – no matter how much sugar or maple syrup I was allowed to add.

Another problem: to this day, I don’t like to eat shortly after I wake up. And the way my childhood schedule was set, I would sleep in ’til the last possible second, and then scramble to get ready for school. I simply wasn’t hungry for anything a half hour after crawling out of bed, no matter what dire penalties Mom threatened if I didn’t choke down some breakfast.

Reviewing the latest Environmental Working Group study on glyphosate residues in children’s cereals, I was surprised to see that the same cereals we had on our table in the 1960s remain big sellers today.

Now, I’ve moved on, and enjoy breakfast – which I usually eat three or four  hours after I awaken.  If I’m preparing it myself, breakfast is some fruit with yoghurt (whatever’s in season), or some version of shakshuka (red, green, I have many ways of making it). Or a toasted cheese sandwich (with avocado, tomatoes, or caramelised onions). Occasionally a giant rosti or some potato pancakes. Or sometimes, something left over from the night before – as long as I don’t have to eat straightaway after rising, I make no distinction between “breakfast” and other foods.  If traveling, I eat whatever the local standard might be: pho in Vietnam; congee in China; olives, cheese, fruit in Turkey; ful medames in Egypt; nasi (or mie) goreng in Indonesia; poha, aloo paratha, idli, dosa, or aloo puri in India.

Yet, never, ever dry cereals –  even the best homemade granola leaves me cold.

Glyphosate Residues in Breakfast Cereals

Yesterday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the latest results of tests of levels of glyphosate residues in children’s cereals, In New Round of Tests, Monsanto’s Weedkiller Still Contaminates Foods Marketed to Children.

Over the last several months, juries have awarded three sets of plaintiffs damages in successful product liability suits that alleged glyphosate causes cancer (see Glyphosate Use Surges in Midwest, Lawsuits Mount: What Will the Supremes Say? and EPA Says Glyphosate Is Safe, But Lawsuits Loom and Bayer’s Woes Mount). Bayer  – which acquired Monsanto in August 2018 and assumed its glyphosate-related legal liabilities – has been the losing defendant in each of these three actions. More than 13,000 actions remain pending, and each successful jury award draws in more potential plaintiffs.

The EWG study found:

Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. All but four products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with a sufficient margin of safety.

The new tests confirm and amplify EWG’s findings from tests in July and October of last year, with levels of glyphosate consistently above EWG’s children’s health benchmark. The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, with 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG children’s health benchmark is 160 ppb.

Source: EWG, from tests in May 2019

EWG purchased products via online retail sites. Approximately 300 grams of each product were packed in our Washington, D.C., office and shipped to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed by a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method described here.

For corn and soybeans, glyphosate is typically used as a weedkiller. With oats, the chemical is used as a desiccant, killing the crop, and allowing for easier harvesting.

CBS reports in Cheerios, Nature Valley cereals contain Roundup ingredient, study finds, that General Mills makes all 21 products tested ( including six varieties of Cheerios and 14 of General Mills’ Nature Valley products [Jerri-Lynn here: My youngest sister, on being asked by my even younger brother, once defined prison as a place where all you could eat was cabbage and peas; my six-year old self would have said that a good definition of hell would be a place where all you could eat was six varieties of Cheerios.]

The company does not seem to be bothered by the EWG findings, and instead asserts:

General Mills said food safety is a “top priority” for the company, which said it’s working to minimize the use of pesticides on the ingredients it uses. “Most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Experts at the FDA and EPA determine the safe levels for food products,” which it adheres to, as well as farmers that grow the crops, it added.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has “a far higher threshold for glyphosate content, ranging from 0.1 to 310 parts per million, rather than per billion” used by the EWG, according to CBS.

The EWG disputes the EPA’s standard, and has called for the EPA to return to a previous, stricter, standard:

All but one of the tested products contained glyphosate at levels higher than what EPA previously allowed on oats, in 1993. EWG’s petition, currently under consideration by EPA, calls on the agency to return to its health-protective 1993 standard. But it could take years for EPA to act, and the agency has been caught colluding with Monsanto to promote the claim that the chemical is safe.

The Bottom Line

Far be it for me to begrudge anyone the occasional bowl of Cheerios (as long as I don’t have to eat them).

As Prevention writes:

“I think a small amount of concern and scrutiny is appropriate,” [Jamie Alan, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University] says. “While the EWG and EPA both have levels they consider ‘safe,’ we really don’t understand the consequences that ingesting this amount of glyphosate will have.”

Alan says it’s “reasonable” to look for organic alternatives to big-name oat cereals and products, which are much less likely to contain glyphosate. However, if you or little ones in your life can’t do without a bowl of Cheerios here and there, you’re probably okay. “It’s not very likely that this will have long-lasting deleterious effects,” Alan says. “The glyphosate is there, but it is in relatively small amounts.” [emphasis in original]

Unfortunately, I disagree with Alan: Ithink that the real problem is the approach we take to that which we just don’t know.

To reiterate what Alan says – “While the EWG and EPA both have levels they consider ‘safe,’ we really don’t understand the consequences that ingesting this amount of glyphosate will have.”

If that’s indeed the case, shouldn’t we just say no to untrammelled use of this chemical? Particularly for uses – such as as a desiccant to make harvesting easier –  that aren’t crucial to ensuring an adequate food supply.

 

 

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70 comments

  1. Steve H.

    Bottom. Truly, a peck of provender: I could munch your good
    dry oats. Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle
    of hay: good hay, sweet hay, hath no fellow.

    (Only an ass would eat oats. Phytates need special treatment.)

    Reply
    1. jefemt

      But oats lower cholesterol?!

      Early AM hotel TV— Golf Channel re-runs promoting the Incredible Narrative of the US Open at Pebble Beach. Ads- back-to-back, for class action lawsuits against Monsanto and glyphosate, juxtaposed to Monsanto ads promoting Roundup line of products that Defeat Nature.

      Now ain’t that America!

      Reply
      1. Svante

        We’d liked one of the Bob’s Red multi-grain cereals, cashew milk or half & half, ground pistacios and cashews, dates, with maple syurp… we’re perverts!

        Bet, you can GUESS the payoff? Better consider organic? I notice my Peak Organic’s still testing negative? Maybe IPA with smoked sturgeon and horseradish creamcheese over kasha varnishkes?

        https://www.sorghumcheckoff.com/news-and-media/newsroom/2017/09/15/sorghum-and-the-use-of-a-harvest-aid-product/

        We’d looked up some of the alternatives, higher protein, less processed carbohydrates… heck, think about SMOKING or vaping herbicides, fungicides, etc?

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I had heard somewhere that Bob’s Red Mill was supposed to be entirely Certifiably Organic.
          Was I wrong?

          Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I went to the Bob’s Red Mill website to read about the “organic” status of their oat products. I will copy-paste the following sentence from their description of their oat products as a category. And here it is . . .

              ” Our extensive line of unprocessed oatmeal includes families of conventional, organic, gluten free, and now gluten free organic oats, as well as convenient instant oatmeal cups to take on the go!”

              I see that some of their oat products are CONVENTIONAL and others are ORGANIC. This marketing literature doesn’t say whether that is USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC or “some other kind of ORGANIC”. I believe American Federal Law now states that if something is not USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC, it may not call itself “organic” AT ALL. And even in the strange deceitful products which are made “with” ORGANIC ingredients, the ORGANIC ingredients they are made “with” are BY LAW supposed to be USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC.

              Were the products the plaintiff(s) in this case bought . . . ORGANIC? Or CONVENTIONAL? If the package did not say ORGANIC, then the product is default-CONVENTIONAL by definition.

              So if I were Bob’s Red Mill, the very first thing I would demand is for the plaintiff to produce in Court every single bag from every oat product bought, so that the Court could see whether the plaintiff(s) had bought the CONVENTIONAL product or the ORGANIC product. Because if the plaintiff(s) had bought the CONVENTIONAL product, then they have zero reason to expect no glyphosate in their CONVENTIONAL oat product. If plaintiff(s) is/are too illiterate or lazy to be keeping up with the literature on use of glyphosate as a dessicant on CONVENTIONAL oats, that is NOT Bob’s Red Mill’s fault or problem.

              Further, I note the following formulation showing up a couple of times in the Document, and I will copy-paste the instances of that formulation. (Citing the exact location of each instance said formulation would make this comment even more unwieldy than the nature of the subject already compels it to be. I assure the reader these examples really exist in the Document. Seek if thou wishest, and ye shall find.)

              “8. Even though Defendant knew that the Products contain the probable
              carcinogen glyphosate or, at a minimum, that it could not guarantee the Products
              did not contain glyphosate given its wide use as a pesticide, Defendant does not disclose . . . ”

              “In fact, nowhere on its Product
              packages – inside or out – does Defendant disclose that the Products contain or
              likely contain glyphosate, such that Defendant’s Product healthy attribute representations are misleading half truths.”

              “9. As the manufacturer and distributor of the Products, Defendant knew
              that the Products contained or likely contained glyphosate.”

              “Because Defendant had knowledge that the Products contain or likely contain
              glyphosate, and Plaintiffs and consumers did not . . .”

              “. . . failing to disclose that the Products contain or likely contain glyphosate, . . ”

              and etc. and etc. and etc.

              Does anyone else see what I see? The weasel-formulation is consistently some variation of ” contain . . . or could not GUARANTEE that it did NOT contain” . . . ” the products contain OR LIKELY contain glyphosate” . . . ” the Defendant knew that the products contained OR LIKELY contained glyphosate” . . . and yet more examples in my quoted material above which I will not extract but which can be seen to be there in the quotes.

              “Contained or LIKELY to contain” . . . ” contains or MAY contain” . . . MAY . . . COULD . . . LIKELY TO . . .

              Well, WHICH IS IT? DOES contain or MAY contain? Contains or is LIKELY to contain? What two-faced weasel-mouthed crap! If I were Bob’s Red Mill, I would hammer that weasel-mouthed two-faced language very hard.

              Did the plaintiff(s) have their Bob’s Red Mill product(s) specifically tested in a qualified testing lab to see if glyphosate either WAS or WAS NOT present? If I were Bob’s Red Mill, I would ask the question and I would deMAND the answer.

              And if I won the case and I had reason to suspect that this complaint were merely a cynical money-fishing expedition in the Lake of the Court, I would have my Doberman Attack Lawyers countersue the plaintiff(s) with all the legally actionable and enforceable viciousness and hatred at my lawyers’ command.

              But I am not Bob’s Red Mill, so this complaint is not my problem. And Bob’s Red Mill is not me, so I don’t know what approach Bob’s Red Mill will take to all this.

              There is a whole downstream plume of other issues arising from this matter which would require a whole other comment, which I will write if it seems indicated.

              Reply
      2. Stephen

        If I were in office I would work for a Precautionary Principle at the EPA and FDA. Organic farms would get a rebate for certification fees while non organic tilth would lose subsidies and federal crop insurance. Its time to stop making excuses for bad work of industrial agriculture.

        Reply
    2. Louis Fyne

      speaking of oats, for botanical reasons (which I completely forgot), oats retain higher levels of pesticides. Cheerios/granola/etc. = oats.

      I don’t eat solely organic, but as a lover of oatmeal, I definitely make sure to only buy organic rolled oats.

      so bummed out when Trader Joe’s stopped carrying organic rolled outs, they only have the organic steel cut at the moment.

      Reply
      1. Steve H.

        Fiber is good for the gut, thus oats are good for the ass.

        Many foods can be bad if not prepared properly, and oats are another. As a gardener, I mull the difference between fruit/veg and the grasses for harvesting. The grains demand more tools, from scythes to winnowing, and scale up to enormous machines. Are they implicitly a more industrial food source?

        So yes on organic, it’s the only way to be sure.

        Reply
      2. Cal2

        “With oats, the chemical is used as a desiccant, killing the crop, and allowing for easier harvesting.”

        What’s really cruel about that is Cheerios are advertised as being “GMO Free!”
        Thus half-informed parents that believe what they read and who don’t have the complete picture think that it’s “healthy.”

        To reiterate; GMO means Genetically Modified Organism, where genetic material from other plants or animals has been inserted in the genome of the target plant. These are then cloned and the seeds of these contain the new animal or plant gene.

        Allergies in the plant from which the gene was extracted are now caused by the target crop, or, in some cases, death, “asthma”, hives, Crohn’s disease or possibly autism.

        Some crops are genetically modified to allow the plant to survive drenching in Roundup which is Glyphosate and secret proprietary cancer causing chemicals. Oats are not genetically modified, true, but the plant is blasted with weedkiller to kill and dry it out so that more grain can be extracted per plant. Your child gets the residues, or, your teething baby, when parents fondly recall what they got.

        Don’t forget the other pesticides, or “Biocides”, residues are in non-organic food as well as the Roundup.

        The best book to learn about GMOs is “Genetic Roulette” by Jeffrey Smith.
        Plenty of videos by and about him as well.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Z1Bu-XAm0

        Go organic. You’ll live longer, look better and you’ll have more money in the bank: (“expensive” organic food minus the costs of GMO and pesticide caused disease).

        Or, you can “save money” by eating crap conventional food, which comes from skeleton soils, and usually contains more water, thus has fewer minerals and doesn’t taste as good, so you eat more of it and get fat, as well as toxified. Then you spend your “savings” on chemotherapy and co-payments in the latter part of your shorter and less healthy life. What a bargain.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          There are some conventional foods which should be Glyphosate-free or at the least very Glyphosate-low. Any non-GMO nut or fruit or leaf or anything else which requires the plant to be healthy-alive at the time of picking the product . . . can’t be sprayed WITH glypho because that would kill the plant when it is needed to be kept alive to yield its product.

          And any non-GMO fruit or nut from a perennial tree/shrub/bush/vine will not be sprayed with Roundup to hasten crop ripening all at once because the Roundup would kill the perennial crop-yielder . . . . which no orchardsman or vineyardsman would want to do.

          So any non-GMO perennials should be no-glypho no matter how conventional otherwise.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            That makes sense. However, the plant may have been recently sprayed with biocides to kill insects, the residues of which remain on and in the fruit. Some worse than other, while the plant remains, ready for next year’s crop.

            Don’t forget soil fumigation, that’s why fields are covered in black plastic, so they can pump nerve gas, Methyl Bromide, or Methyl Iodide, into the soil to kill everything. Every single cell of the non-organic strawberry contains traces of that, plus what’s trapped in all the little pits on the surface, along with other pesticides sprayed on the plants.

            Childhood cancers were so rare in 1900 that they were highlighted in medical textbooks. Now we have childhood cancer clinics being advertised on TV, especially where uninformed people still eat crap.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              For the conventional side of fruits and vegetables, some group-or-other has spent several years now making yearly lists of the fruits/vegetables most heavily dosed with various biocides. They call this list the Dirty Dozen.
              https://www.delish.com/food-news/a26872638/dirty-dozen-foods-list-2019/

              They have also made lists of the 15 fruits/ vegetables which are the least-dosed with biocides. They call that list the Clean Fifteen.
              https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/meet-clean-15-fruits-and-vegetables-least-likely-poison-you-slideshow

              And of course if you grow any food yourself, you know exactly what biocides you did and did NOT use on it. ( No one can know what alien trespasser chemicals come in on the wind and the rain. )

              Reply
              1. polecat

                I use no chemicals what-so-ever ! , within the confines of our lot. Sometimes Bt, on cruiferous vegetables, but not often. Homemade compost .. perhaps a package of ladybugs, but usually I just let things run their course, as what we have is most definately NOT a monoculture. Every year there exists what I would term a ‘sacrificial’ plant or two, which varies from year to year. Just part of the wheel of life. The beneficial insects do what they do best … on their own terms. And to really get down to it, even the so-called bad insects need sustenance …

                Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Phytates are an anti-feedant, made by the plant and shipped into the forming seed to complexate and un-digestible-ize the minerals therein.

      When the seed has uptaken water and begun sprouting, the phytates are dismatled so the growing embryo plant can use the de-phytated minerals in building up their own growing bodies.

      So soaking and sprouting the oat seeds you plan to eat in order to de-phytate the minerals therein will render the minerals digestible unto your own digestive system as well.

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    Its interesting you don’t like breakfast – I think there is evidence that people naturally prefer food within a natural biorhythm – for some, that’s eating early, others later. Personally I find it hard to get through the day without a big nutritious breakfast, but I can happily skip any food in the evening. But of course the worst food of all for breakfast is anything with sugar, as that means you get hunger pangs through the day due to blood sugar levels slumping (i.e. the ’11am slump).

    Its not really natural to eat over an 18 hour day as is so common now. Breakfast of course originally meant ‘to break fast’ – it was the first food of the day, not necessarily something you ate in the morning. It is sad though to see highly processed cereals become the norm around the world, often replacing much healthier eating habits. Its all down to marketing.

    As for Glyphosate, I can remember when it was marketed as safe because it was claimed to break down 100% into safer compounds in the environment. Now a permanent background level in our bodies is deemed ‘safe’. Note how industry always subtly changes the question from ‘is this safe?’ to ‘there is no proof of harm’.

    Reply
      1. Gpt

        Funny how glyphosate stopped being “safe” almost exactly when Monsanto’s patent on glyphosate-resistant crops ran out. Was it known to be unsafe all along and the patent expiration the cue for Monsanto’s then-owners to hand the suckers who own Bayer a flaming sack of ****?

        Or is it actually not unsafe at all, and the current wave of anti-glyphosate coverage a covert marketing campaign for the next batch of patented GM crops and their brand new “safe” companion herbicide?

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          4-dimensional cynicism is probably warranted in today’s world. We are marinated in a dirty vat of spin, anti-spin, anti-antispin-spin and so on.

          But beneath the spin, behind it and beside and weaving in and out of it, can be found the sad ugly truth.

          My best guesstimate about glyphosate is this: cancer is the LEAST of glyphosate’s dangers. Even at sub-carcinogenic levels , the glyphosate residues in mainstream foods will kill off the susceptible members of the intestinal micro-biome, leaving the resistant and tolerant pathogens free to run amok.

          Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology Don Huber at Purdue University has noted that the rates of intestinal derangement ( Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, “Gluten” sensitivity, etc) have been rising at the same rate at the rise of Glyphosate residue in mainstream foods.

          Until the Lower Class Majority can re-conquer our Corporate BizNazi Occupied government, and make it ours NOT theirs again, glypho residues will keep rising in many mainstream foods. Glypho-enriched food will become a Darwin Filter through which some people will pass and through which other people won’t. And the wisest among us will figure out how to bypass and avoid the Glypho-enriched foods altogether.

          If the DSA Party wants to be really useful to poor people, it will figure out how to design, weaponise and disseminate materials and methods for poor people to achieve money-cheap and time-cheap cooking and eating. Crying ” food-shamer!” won’t de-contaminate any poor person’s food. it is too late in the day to consider peoples’ feelings.

          Reply
        2. Cal2

          GPT, the converse, funny how Lyme Disease is hardly recognized by the mainstream medical establishment.

          Once big pharma gets a patent on a vaccine or a cure, suddenly, it will become a national health crisis and perhaps, as little boys have to get vaccines against HPV in school, all children will require the Lyme shot to enroll in schools.

          Reply
      2. d

        Not sure if we really understand the problem. Its not just breakfast foods supplied to kids, but any food grown. And not just those that have Glyphosate applied to it, but any food grown around it cause run off will spread the product to more than just the one its applied to. It can also end very far away, as the dead zone in the gulf demonstrates

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          ummm . . . I believe the dead zone in the gulf is due to excess Nitrogen fertilizer ( and maybe excess Phosphate fertilizer) washing off fields and also washing off in the soil washing off the fields. It fertilizes a wild excess of algae growth which dies and rots so extensively as to suck all the oxygen out of the water, hence deathening the zone.

          Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              I had never heard of glypho being implicated in the nitro-phospate eutrophication dead-zones. By definition it can’t help, but is it enough to hurt? The question is worth scientific study.

              Meanwhile, there is no reason to wait for such study in order to attempt to exterminate the glyphosate industry on land, given what we already know about what it does on land.

              Reply
  3. Svante

    To me, the shock’s that the herbicide as dessicant being especiallypprevalent in “kiddie’s cereal” story got out? Glyphosate’s in everything. Stuff like chickpeas, potatoes (and it’s hardly alone). Dairy cattle, poultry, it accumulates in livestock. That nobody’s really reacting, that “certified organic” shelves haven’t been stripped bare, followed by click-bait about diminished ogranic standards, shocking disclosures from Jon Entine, as herbicides, fungicides, heavy metals and GE traits show up in everything like some sci-fi movie. Is anybody even getting anything published, on the blog aggregators, about what effect this usage is having on soil organisms, pollinators, etc?

    https://usrtk.org/food-for-thought/jon-entine-the-chemical-industrys-master-messenger/

    https://whowhatwhy.org/2019/06/12/study-claims-science-nonprofit-serves-as-lobbyist-for-food-industry/

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If not . . . well – that’s what blogs like this are for.

      Current non-readers will just have to find their way here as best they can. Readers here can help by mentioning NaCap in many other places.

      Reply
  4. crow

    “Most crops grown in fields use some form of pesticides and trace amounts are found in the majority of food we all eat,” the company said in an emailed statement.

    What does that mean, that it’s ok because everyone (the growers) uses it and we’re all are exposed to their toxic residue? (Not counting organic food.)

    I don’t want Monsanto’s junk in my body. No thank you.

    Reply
    1. JE

      Organic foods use pesticides and herbicides, just different pesticides and herbicides. The safety of which versus industrial ones are frankly not known with any comforting level of certainty. Our entire approach to chemical use in food is forgiveness vs permission.

      A list of allowed chemicals for organic agriculture:
      https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&SID=9874504b6f1025eb0e6b67cadf9d3b40&rgn=div6&view=text&node=7:3.1.1.9.32.7&idno=7#sg7.3.205.g.sg0

      Reply
      1. d

        Even if you are doing organic farming, if your neighbors aren’t, you can end up with it in your crop, because off runoff

        Reply
      2. Cal2

        Are you sincere? Or a Monsanto Troll?

        Nothing like throwing a bunch of confusing conflicting information into a ever more clear issue.

        What you’re saying is akin to it’s pointless to stop smoking because there are people smoking all around you.

        https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2019/05/court-docs-monsanto-paid-chemical-industry-front-group-claim-cancer

        Monsanto paid a shadowy chemical industry front group to help push back against the mounting scientific evidence that the company’s signature Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, court documents reveal.

        “If a company like [Monsanto] won’t support us, then who will?” the head of the American Council on Science and Health wrote to a Monsanto scientist in 2015. A day later came the reply: “[T]he answer is yes…. [D]efinitely count us in!!”

        Reply
        1. d

          No. And no.just saying that if an organic farmer follows the rules, it matters little if their neighbors dont

          Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The “organic-permitted” pesticides should be non-carcinogenic, non-mutagenic, non-teratogenic, etc.
        The dangers from “organic-permitted” pesticides would be acute poisoning from acute exposure to acute overdose.

        The petro-chemical synthetic organic ( meaning carbon-based) pesticides seem like a higher level of danger.

        That said, there are some growers who sidestep the issue by maintaining a high-enough and balanced-enough load of plant-nutrition minerals in their soil . . . and a high enough level of bio-activity in their soil to organify the mineral nutrients and render them available for healthy plant-root uptake, that the plants themselves are healthy enough to be metabolically non-deranged and thereby non-attractive to those pests which look for “long-distance-visible signatures of disease”.

        The general concept of high brix gardening is a good concept to research in that regard. There used to be a website called High Brix Gardens. It may be gone or it may be drowned out by floods of commercial advertisements in informational disguise. Here is a non-commercial forum of people discussing the concept.
        https://permies.com/t/9893/high-brix-gardening

        Otherwise, all I can say is keep searching and searching till you find a non-trash non-commercial website by accident.

        Reply
      4. drumlin woodchuckles

        Briefly looking at JE’s link, I would have to say that most of the chemicals I see referenced in that bunch of rules are chemicals in the sense that dihydrogen monoxide is a chemical.

        Reply
    2. EoH

      The description “most crops” might be technically correct, in that industrial ag takes up such a large percentage of the total. The description “trace amounts” is in the eye of the beholder, since there is so little food research that is not paid for by big ag and big food. The tag line “the majority of food we [the majority of us] all eat” makes a weak argument circular. The statement says so little and leaves out so much, it could have come only from a marketer or policy guru.

      IMHO, “organic” is special by virtue of its scarcity. It is the way food crops were grown before, say, WWII. That is, before the heyday of the chemical industry, the food marketer, and the food and flavor “engineer.”

      Organic is special because it’s still food without the adulterants – what the food industry prefers to call additives, preservatives, and what not – that big ag uses to make their products so profitable. It’s special because it’s still food.

      Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    Does anybody know if glysophate is metabolized in the body and excreted or whether it simply accumulates over time?

    Reply
    1. JCC

      Supposedly, If ingested, glyphosate is excreted rapidly, does not accumulate in body fat or tissues, and does not undergo metabolism in humans. Rather, it is excreted unchanged in the urine (EU Review Report of the active substance glyphosate, 2002, at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/protection/evaluation/existactive/list1_glyphosate_en.pdf)

      My understanding is that “rapidly” means about 90% gone within 6 weeks, on average, in experiments on mice, rats, and dogs.

      Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It kills and destroys beneficial intestinal microflora the whole time it passes through the intestine. It slowly kills over time by taking away what should be there, rather than adding something which should not be there.

          Reply
      1. tegnost

        your link didn’t work for me…
        While glyphosate may metabolize, I wanted to check the study to see if it considered lifetime persistent exposure. This is what the population is being exposed to now, and that population is the study group. Also as elsewhere mentioned the excuse in past years was glyphosate breaks down completely so concerns are unfounded turns out to be your body just sends it on it’s way harmlessly. Sure thing. It doesn’t break down, it’s here there and everywhere all the time. So you have glyphosate in your body unchanged doing what it is supposed to do and then you pee it out unchanged where it continues to do what it’s supposed to do?

        Reply
        1. marku52

          I had read somewhere (sorry, don’t have a link) that it was glyphosate plus the adjuvants in Roundup that made it especially harmful, compared to glyphostae itself

          Reply
          1. marku52

            Here is a link:
            “The herbicide, they found, killed the cells at concentrations far below those used in agricultural practice. Surprisingly, they also found that Roundup was at least twice as toxic as glyphosate alone.”

            ” Roundup also disrupted aromatase activity at concentrations 100 times lower than those used in agriculture. The researchers suspect that the adjuvants used in Roundup enhance the bioavailability and/or bioaccumulation of glyphosate.”

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257636/

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1257636/

            Reply
            1. tegnost

              Thanks…from the link
              “Roundup’s main adjuvant is the surfactant polyethoxylated tallowamine, which helps glyphosate penetrate plant cells.”

              That’s the most complicated way of saying “soap” I ever heard of…

              Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I just remembered something else. At a Don Huber lecture/presentation which I attended, one thing Huber discussed was his work with sugar cane owner-growers in Central America and Brazil. Glypho was being used as a dessicant on the cane plants to speed their in-plant conversion of simple sugars into sucrose all at once for one-pass harvest. In the hot tropical heat, the cane workers would chew-eat lengths of cane plant in order to suck out the juice. All the glypho on/in the cane was chelating magnesium and other minerals in the canes. When these ingested glypho-mineral chelate complexes reached the kidneys of the cane cutters involved, they would be too big to physically pass through the filtration nanopores of the kidney tissue. They physically occluded the nanopores ( “plugged-up” the kidney in layman’s terms). One could say the process was nano-physical, not chemical. But the result was still fast lethal kidney failure.

        The bussiness was losing enough dead cane cutters right at and after cane-cutting time that eventually some of the cane bussiness-people called in Prof. Huber for consultation. He found another way to harvest-readify the cane withOUT glypho, and cutter death-rates are going down. To zero? I don’t know. Someone could attend a Don Huber event and ask the Professor about that in question-answer. I remember him telling us that he advised the growers to use some kind of borate to kill-drydown the cane. I would have to assume that borate toxicity is way less of a problem than glypho kidney-occlusion lethality was. But all the questions about that issue could be posed to Don Huber by anyone attending his next presentation.

        Anyway, thanks to Don Huber, Big Roundup has lost markets in the cane-fields, and will keep losing more markets in the cane fields.

        Reply
      1. Cal2

        Question for parents about to buy a box of Cheerios:

        Are my kids Roundup Ready?

        It would be so easy for General Mills to just switch to all organic oats.
        Maybe we can shame them into it.
        Your local PTA is an excellent vehicle to spread new of pesticide dangers in grocery and school cafeteria food.

        Reply
  6. Steve Ruis

    The amounts stated in the table are all less than one part per million. 1% is one part per hundred, so one part per million is one ten thousandth of one percent. These are quite tiny amounts. Nonetheless I always find such announcements lacking as they almost never tell you how much is dangerous and why. I am not a fan of Roundup. I think Monsanto is doing evil with it and other products. But when reporting on this, I wish people would complete the picture. (Note It only became possible in my lifetime to make ppb measurements. In my youth making small ppm measurements was quite difficult.)

    Reply
    1. divadab

      Yes. The issue for me is what effect 800 PPB of glyphosate has on the gut flora? And in a growing young body? Let alone the cancer risk…..

      Organic all the way for me. In my ideal world, all farming should be organic – it is possible but requires a federal mandate. This will take time as long as a large number of people think organic is dirty hippy shit. I have a churchy acquaintance who said to me in all seriousness “We don’t do organic” as if this was some kind of virtuous thing – I just shook my head at the ignorance of it but, you know, Fox News, voice of Satan.

      Reply
      1. Harry

        There is no such thing in the US as organic maize, or as close to dammit. And then there is the animal feed issue and the cross contamination issue. Still, if one does ones best there might be a few people around to explain what happened to the rest of us after we are gone.

        And this is precisely my concern regarding 100% safe glyphosate. Is that 100% safe endorsed by my biome? If not, perhaps this is another example of misdirection?

        #Jackpot.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        People who proudly refuse “dirty hippy shit” organic should be left alone to do so. They may select themselves out of the population over the course of Darwinian time. I suppose we could spare them a laugh and a chuckle.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        I myself wouldn’t call Fox News the voice of Satan.

        I think of it as the voice of Militant Stupidism, the choice of Militant Backwardite Stupidites everywhere.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Some chemicals are effective at parts per trillion levels. Human Growth Hormone is effective at parts per trillion for example, I believe.

      So while parts per billion seems small, for some chemicals parts per billion is all that is needed.

      Reply
  7. PKMKII

    So is glyphosate not used in the treatment of wheat and rice for cereal? Or is there something about oats that makes them more suspect to absorbing it?

    Reply
  8. Harry

    So I have been very interested in the mechanism by which glyphosate might cause Non-Hogkins. My current working hypothesis is that glyphosate kills gut fauna, thus chronically weakening the immune system.

    This hypothesis would explain why there are no finger prints on the causation. It would explain the statistical evidence. But it would also suggest that long term prolonged exposure would do more damage and cumulative damage that we have not had a chance to evaluate. If this hypothesis was right, then we would only find out the extent of the damage in the very long term.

    Has anyone else come across any reading or theories on this? Glyphosate as a antiseptic which damages the human intestinal biome?

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology Don Huber at Purdue University has been gathering the research of many others on this topic as on other glyphosate related topics. As well as doing some of his own research.
      Here is a bunch of you tube videos of him giving interviews and presentations. He is sure to mention this somewhere in all these videos.
      https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=AwrJ6SU18QJdBAwAFgZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyY3VucDBuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjY4MjFfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=you+tube+don+huber&fr=sfp

      Reply
  9. chuck roast

    Why is it many of the geezers I know have gastro-intestinal issues and several others are suffering from esophageal cancer? I’m thinking it’s post-industrial foodstuffs. It’s the new lung cancer. We all had our last cigarette decades ago. So, since we didn’t croak from lung cancer, we have lived long enough to react to the next bit of ‘gotcha’ environmental fallout.

    Reply
    1. d

      No. Not sure why we do it but we tend to the ‘old’ ways were better. They weren’t. Ex down in New Orleans there used to be many food processing plants, near streets. Problem is in the ‘old’ days when a horse died they were left where they died. Think how that worked out, decaying horses next to butchers cutting up meat. Course there are lots others,in the Roman empire urine was thought to be a health aide. Then of course there are many newer, radium used for glowing watches. Never mind smoking tobacco, which was at one time thought to be healthy.

      Reply
  10. Synoia

    Vietnamese Pho is remarkably high in Cholesterol, because the soup is made from boiled (for a long time) beef bones.

    Per one of our Vietnamese MD friends.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      And what has been the traditional rate of heart disease and stroke and etc. in Vietnam?

      Reply
  11. drumlin woodchuckles

    Earlier upthread I mentioned something called “brix”. I understand “brix” to be literally a measurement of the amount of sugars dissolved in any fluid. So I have tried some “searchy workarounds” to try finding something about “high brix gardening” and “brix values” and etc. on the interweb.

    I read long ago in Acres USA about agricultural consultant Carey Reams and his measurements of the percent of dissolved sugars in the liquid squeezable from various plant-tissue samples. His observation was that higher sugar-loads indicated higher quality, because higher sugar-loads generally fellow-traveled with higher mineral-loads in the plant tissue. He worked up a chart of his measurements of brix ranges for some crops and his assignment of quality grades from poor to excellent as the brix-level rose.

    So I looked up “Carey Reams Brix Chart” images and got this . . .
    https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrE19YpPgNdzaQAYKJXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyY3VucDBuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjY4MjFfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=carey+reams+brix+chart&fr=sfp

    Clicking through the images to see which ones were expandable and readable back on the URLs they came from. I found an example of a Reams Brix Table big enough to read. Link to its delivery-vehicle article here:
    https://blamingnature.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/measuring-success-brix/

    And the expanded chart here:
    https://blamingnature.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/brixchart.jpg

    This is a workaround search I could still do using all the images findable with some information I could still remember. It would have taken anywhere between several hours and never ever to find this the “straightforward” way.

    Reply
  12. drumlin woodchuckles

    So the next question Reams ( and then others) worked on was how to grow plants-of-desire to get within them the desired “excellent” brix levels with their fellow-travelling “excellent” levels of minerals/protein/little peptides/amino-acids/other things? This is what all the people featured down the years at Acres USA have been working on.

    I mentioned remembering a website working to bring some of this information simplified down to a layman’s level called High Brix Gardening. Now I can’t even find it through all the commercial trash a conventional search calls up.

    But what if I type in “high brix garden images” and search the images and their source-URLS? Will that sort of “image wormhole” search get me that site or something equally good within minutes? The collection of images I get is almost all of marijuana plants. I haven’t looked at any URLs. But within seconds I see a picture of ” High Brix Gardens is an undertaking of International Ag Labs ( A biological approach to agriculture). So I click that picture in part so everyone can see it:

    https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrJ7JcZQgNdSWwAg2JXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyY3VucDBuBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjY4MjFfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=high+brix+gardening&fr=sfp#id=31&iurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.highbrixgardens.com%2Fimages%2Fstories%2Finternational-aglabs-hbg.jpg&action=click

    I then click the relevant URL which the Yahoo image aggregator provides while the Google image aggregator does NOT provide. Here is the URL I clicked:
    https://highbrixgardens.com/what-is-brix.html

    And clicking that URL brings up an improved version of the High Brix Gardens website I remember from a few years ago. Yes, it is commercial, but it is commercial treasure, not commercial trash, like what conventional search brought me.

    Anyone clicking that URL will find a site with much interesting information simplified for the intelligent layman who wants to understand these things. And I found it through an Image-Wormhole search where
    a conventional search could take between hours and never ever.

    And this information can be used to guide one’s own further research in growing hi-valu nutri-dense plants. I think this site itself could help one get started.

    And if one is able to consistently grow fruits and vegetables of “high” to “excellent” brix levels, one can learn what “high” to “excellent” is as presented in the plant products themselves, and one can learn to see it in produce for sale at various venues.

    Reply
  13. GB

    I am a small farmer, certified organic, and grow small grains (oats, corn, soy, wheat) for sale, and of course fruit and veggies for family use. I am bordered on 3 sides by round-up ready neighbors. I take all required precautions such as maintaining large unplanted buffer zones between my fields and the neighbors’, but I can tell you that pesticide/herbicide drift is inevitable. The worst problem is with a neighboring vineyard. Grapes are sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, god knows what daily for the two weeks before harvest, and in spite of their spraying pre dawn most days, the chemicals can be detected 500ft into my property. I won’t drink wine anymore, virtually all wine now tests positive for glyphosate. We are mainly vegetarian, eat only organic milk products, and filter our drinking water through a Big Berkey, a pain in the butt, but it removes 100% of glyphosate from water. Most rain water also tests positive for glyphosate.

    Certain pesticides are allowed in organic gardening, but I prefer not to use things like copper on fruit. We’re experimenting with beneficial insects, which of course will be killed by any pesticide drift from the neighbors, and growing under cover.

    Easy to get depressed at the damage done to our soil and water by greed.

    Reply

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