FDA data obtained through a freedom of information request shows traces of the best-selling weedkiller glyphosate, best known as Monsanto's Roundup.
According to the Guardian, which reviewed the agency's data, the FDA has had trouble finding "any food that does not carry traces of the [herbicide]."
Glyphosate, which is often used as a companion herbicide to genetically modified crops marketed by Monsanto, has been linked to cancer, metabolic disorders, and other serious health conditions.
FDA researchers have been testing food samples for traces of glyphosate over the last two years as consumer concerns about the safety of the chemical have increased. Genetically modified foods and use of glyphosate are limited in other parts of the world over concerns about the science and safety of the chemical.
“I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount [of glyphosate] in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year, the Guardian noted. Thompson said broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that didn't test positive for the chemical.
“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,” Tracey Woodruff, a professor in the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine told the Guardian. “It helps people make informed decisions. Taxpayers paid for the government to do this work, they should get to see the information.”
Other tests found levels of glyphosate residue over the legal limit of 5.0 ppm (parts per million). Corn tested by an agency chemist found levels as high as 6.5 ppm in corn, one of the most commonly treated crops.
"An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an 'official sample'."
The World Health Organization declared glyphosate a carcinogen in 2015. California recently added glyphosate to Prop 65, legislation that requires warning labels on products deemed a cancer risk.
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