FDA scientists report finding high levels glyphosate in food samples

The commonly used weedkiller glyphosate has been subject to a great deal of scrutiny in recent years. Although the evidence is inconclusive, some scientists have warned that it could be carcinogenic and campaigners have called for it to be regulated and labelled accordingly. If this was the case, and glyphosate did cause cancer, a new report has shown a worrying development that the herbicide product is now found in an array of some of the most commonly consumed foods.

Following a recent request under the Freedom of Information Act, information gathered from the FDA shows that the agency has been testing food samples for year. They are yet to release the results of these tests, but has now admitted that they found residues of glyphosate in the vast majority of foods that it tested. In emails written to colleagues last year, FDA chemist Richard Thompson, who works in a laboratory in Arkansas said:  “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them.”

In a separate report, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem stated that the levels of glyphosate found in corn were “over the tolerance levels” at 6.5 parts per million. The legal limit currently stand at 5 parts per million. However, a spokesperson for the FDA claimed that this was not an “official sample” and that the agency hadn’t found illegal levels in other products, including soy, milk, eggs or flour. The findings that were revealed in the email communication were not addressed in the spokespersons statement.

Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine said that consumers had the right to know if high levels of glyphosate were present in their food, even if studies have shown it not to be harmful. She said: “People care about what contaminants are in their food. If there is scientific information about these residues in the food, the FDA should release it. It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”

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