Farm Progress

Move comes amid growing consumer concern.

February 18, 2016

2 Min Read
Photo: David McNew/Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration will begin testing soybeans, corn, milk, eggs and possibly other foods for glyphosate residue, the agency confirmed.

“The FDA has not routinely looked for glyphosate in its pesticide chemical residue monitoring regulatory program in the past for several reasons, including that available methods for detecting glyphosate were selective residue methods that would have been very cost- and labor-intensive to implement in FDA field labs,” said FDA spokesman Jason Strachman Miller. “Also, glyphosate levels, if present in genetically engineered corn and soybeans, are likely to be reduced by the processing done to those foods.

“Recently, the FDA has developed streamlined methods for testing for glyphosate,” Strachman Miller said. “The agency is now preparing plans for fiscal year 2016 to measure glyphosate in soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods.”


FDA is going to begin testing eggs for glyphosate residue. (Photo: David McNew/Thinkstock)

Soybeans, corn, milk, and eggs, among other potential foods.”

Moms Across America, a coalition of moms committed to raising awareness of GMOs, hailed the decision.

“This shows that citizens, such as the moms who initiated the water, urine, breast milk and food testing, and the thousands of our members who called the EPA, can impact nationwide policy change,” said Zen Honeycutt, Moms Across America founder.

In a statement to Civil Eats, Monsanto, the company that developed Roundup herbicide, said, “While FDA hasn’t officially confirmed to us that they plan to move forward with residue testing, glyphosate’s 40-year history of safe use has been upheld by the U.S. EPA and regulators around the world following decades of study and review. No data have ever indicated residue levels of more than a fraction of EPA’s very conservative Allowable Daily Intake or any level of concern. If FDA does move forward with additional testing in a scientifically rigorous manner, we are confident it will reaffirm the long-standing safety profile of this vital tool used safely and effectively by farmers, landowners and homeowners around the world.”

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, which was introduced in 1974. Glyphosate is among the world’s most widely used herbicides. The four most used active ingredients in herbicides in 2008 were glyphosate, atrazine, acetochlor and metolachlor, according to a 2014 report by USDA’s Economic Research Service. Also, herbicide use as a percent of total pesticides used increased from 18% in 1960 to 76% in 2008, according to the report.

Related articles:

Civil Eats: FDA to start testing for glyphosate in food – FDA move comes amid growing public concern.

Time: FDA to start testing for glyphosate in food – Move comes after World Health Organization declares glyphosate ‘a probable human carcinogen.’

Huffpost Science – Time for U.S. regulators to get serious about safety of popular pesticide – Until now government has resisted testing foods for glyphosate residues.

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