Last year, the USDA was working with the EPA and FDA on plans to start testing samples of corn syrup for glyphosate residue this April, but now it appears that they have had a change of heart.
Under the plan, the USDA would have looked at more than 300 samples of corn syrup to measure glyphosate and the potentially dangerous AMPA metabolites that are created when it breaks down. Glyphosate is considered a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, and it has been linked to a number of health problems. California has already classified it as a carcinogen.
As recently as January, a USDA representative wrote a letter stating that the testing would be carried out from April 1 until August 31, but something appears to have changed their mind. A USDA spokesman said last month that the agency did not have any plans to test for the toxic substance. Instead, the body will test honey for a hundred pesticide residues – but not glyphosate, despite the fact that it is the most commonly used herbicide in the world and the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular RoundUp herbicide. They even had the audacity to call this a “more efficient use of resources.”
Many people are rightfully outraged at this decision, and the policy group Food Policy Action has started an online petition to persuade the USDA to reconsider this highly controversial decision. It also presses for more research into the safety of glyphosate to help protect the American public’s food supply. You can sign the petition here.
Last year, the FDA was carrying out tests of corn, milk, soybeans and eggs for glyphosate residue. Before the program was suspended, high levels of glyphosate in oatmeal and honey were detected. The USDA and FDA routinely test food samples for pesticide residues, but they have never focused on glyphosate, spurring criticism from the Government Accountability Office.
Cover-ups and lies
Monsanto vehemently denies that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and it has spent a lot of money covering up studies that don’t support its position, paying off scientists or bullying them into saying their products are safe, and lobbying the government to make decisions in their favor. In 2015, around 220 million pounds of glyphosate were used in the U.S.
At the same time that the USDA’s quiet reversal on their position toward testing for glyphosate came to light, the New York Times exposed possible collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to manipulate science in a way that minimizes the risks of glyphosate, prompting California Rep. Ted Lieu to call on Congress and the Justice Department to investigate the matter.
In that case, unsealed court documents indicated that Monsanto was ghostwriting research and attributing it to academics and that the EPA had internal disagreements about its safety assessment. Those files were unsealed by a judge presiding over a lawsuit filed against Monsanto by hundreds of people who say that exposure to Roundup caused them or a loved one to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the governmental bodies set up ostensibly to protect us are far more concerned with protecting their own interests. This explains the growing trend toward buying organic food and growing your own food, which is really the only way to be completely sure the food you eat has not come into contact with this dangerous substance. If enough people sign the Food Policy Action petition, it is hoped that the USDA will no longer be able to downplay the importance of investigating this major threat to public health.