Farm Progress

Moms Across America report is a reminder that the fight against widespread misinformation is going to be a long one.

December 28, 2016

2 Min Read
WINE ISSUE: Report celebrates "glyphosate-free" test of wine from two vineyards; warns that other wines have glyphosate residues as a result of the herbicide being "taken up by the roots of dormant plants" when the space between rows is treated.NormanKrauss/iStock/Thinkstock

I got a press release this week that I just have to share.

It celebrated the "good news" that no detectable glyphosate was found in the wine from two organic vineyards in California and praised the "bravery" of the vineyard owners in having their wine tested for glyphosate.

Here is a direct quote from the third paragraph:

"Glyphosate-based herbicides are often sprayed between the rows of vines during their dormant period and can be taken into leaves and grapes through the roots."

It goes on to say that 100% of 12 other California wines tested were positive for glyphosate, including two organic brands, according to a "report" released in March.

I am not making this up. This "report" from Moms Across America was sent out from the group’s public relations firm.

I responded, explaining that this is not possible. Glyphosate is a foliar-applied herbicide, I explained. It only works if you spray it on leaves when the plant is growing. It can't be "taken up" by dormant roots and later expressed in leaves and fruit the following growing season.

Even if it were taken up by roots, I explained, the grapevine would die. It wouldn't put out glyphosate-laden leaves and fruit.

I got a response from Zen Honeycutt of Moms Across America, saying that we have "different understandings" of how glyphosate works.

"My understanding is that glyphosate does uptake onto roots," was the response. "That's why the EPA allows berries and potatoes to have residues levels of .2-7 ppm of glyphosate allowed on them. Other non-GMO crops which do not tolerate glyphosate to be sprayed directly on them can still grow if the herbicide has been sprayed near it, such as grapes during the dormant season.”

No, Zen, we don't have "different understandings."

We have different facts. Mine come from science. Yours come from reports on the internet.

EPA allows residues in some crops that are sprayed with glyphosate. There are no tolerance levels for non-GMO crops.

Yes, non-GMO crops can still grow in the vicinity of crops sprayed with glyphosate. That is because it is a foliar herbicide that only affects the plant that is sprayed. It is also why you can just hold a sheet of cardboard in front of your ornamental shrub and spray the grass and weeds around it to kill them. Because glyphosate can't "uptake through" roots, it kills the weeds and not the desirable plant.

The scary thing is this person is deeply sincere in the belief that glyphosate is poisoning the world and can point to "multiple websites and reports" that say so.

The fight against fake news and internet misinformation is going to be a long one.


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