More about Glyphosate

Yesterday I touched on genetically engineered foods and the lack of adequate testing on these foods. One very real concern with genetic engineering is that the gene insertion  ( inserting foreign DNA into a plant) is not an exact science and can cause unforeseen, unintended consequences  like decreased nutritional value and allergic reactions.

Over the last few years, more attention has been given to the adverse health effects of the active ingredient in Round Up: Glyphosate.

When GMO crops were first introduced, it was thought that perhaps farmers would be able to spray less herbicide. However, we cannot dismiss Mother Nature in all of her brilliance. The very weeds that the farmers were trying to control grew with virulence and became resistant to the herbicide. So, instead of having less weeds, farmers found themselves with more weed, and more weed and more weeds. Their answer? To follow the advice of the biotech companies who sold them their crop seed and their herbicide- spray more. So instead of using less herbicide, farmers were now using more.

Don Huber,  Emertius professor of plant pathology at Purdue University and his colleague, Dr. Michael McNeill, an agronomist from Iowa, have spoken extensively about the dangers of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide which accumulates in plant tissue, the roots, the shoots and reproductive structures. It is released into the soil where it is quickly absorbed and where it degrades very slowly. (Half life of glyphosate is at least 22 years).

It makes plants susceptible to diseases and in the soil it can kill microbes like earthworms and mychorrhizae which are crucial for the health of the soil.  It prevents the plants from taking up nutrients, causing deficiency.  A 2012 nutritional analysis of GMO versus non GMO corn showed these deficiencies. You can find that chart here. 

How does this all affect us? Glyphosate does not wash off the plants. When we consume foods that are sprayed with glyphosate, we are consuming the residue of the herbicide.

Tests of common foods were conducted to measure the amount of residue. Cheerios, for example, was measured at 1, 125.3 parts per billion (ppb). Because the farming industry continues to use glyphosate ubiquitously, the EPA has continually raised the maximum residue limit (MRL) for commodity crops like corn and soy which end up in our processed foods. (The allowable levels are more like 20 ppm for crops like corn and soy!)

Researchers have shown the toxic effects of glyphosate:

  • At .5 parts per million, it causes endocrine disruption.
  • At 1 -10 ppm, there is evidence of liver damage
  • At 5.o ppm, there is evidence of DNA damage
  • At 1-10 ppm, there is mitochondrial damage and multiple cell damage.

It was declared a probably carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2016, and in the United States, the FDA  put a halt on residue testing! 

Stephanie Seneff, PhD is an outspoken researcher who warns of the dangers of glyphosate. Through her research, she finds that it disrupts the gut bacteria in humans, killing off beneficial bacteria and allowing pathogenic bacteria to thrive causing issues with the immune system like allergies, susceptibility to illness and autoimmune diseases. She also points out that the byproducts of glyphosate- glycine and formaldehyde affect immune function. Formaldehyde especially is highly toxic to all animals. You can find much of her research here. 

Bottom line is that genetically engineered foods are money makers for the biotech companies with dangerous consequences. It is up to the individual consumer to be aware of the issues with consuming these foods and opt instead for whole, unprocessed organic foods.



Here is  a list of where these genetically engineered foods can be hidden:

Corn: Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, masa, corn flour, corn starch, modified food starch, distilled vinegar, baking powder, some vitamin C, citric acid, sweet corn on the cob, some alcohols distilled from corn.

Soy:  Soy oil, soy protein isolate, tofu, soy lecithin, soy milk, textured vegetable protein, soy sauce/ tamari, mirin, soy infant formula, some spice mixes, some tea bags, vitamin E supplements, marinades, sauces.

Canola: Salad dressings, baked goods, chips, prepared foods, packaged foods (hummus, olives, prepared marinades, sauces.

Sugar: Made from genetically engineered sugar beets- baked goods, chocolates, salad dressings, ketchups, marinades, tomato sauces, condiments, jams, spice mixes, breakfast cereals.

Cottonseed Oil: Baked goods, potato chips.

Other ingredients: Artificial sweeteners, aspartame/equal/nutrisweet/bene via, food starch, modified food starch, autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin, malitol, mannitol, condensed milk.

In fresh produce, buy only organic sweet corn, organic apples , potatoes, papaya and pineapple!

When buying dairy, eggs or meats, be sure to get them organic too!

It’s time that consumers take back the food system and demand that our food is safe and nutrient dense. This is one of the first ways we will change the trajectory of children’s health in this country!

Tomorrow, I will be touching on other crops that are sprayed with glyphosate that are not genetically engineered!




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