Best known as an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, the pesticide-herbicide glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO).
USA Today reports, Feb. 25, 2019, that a new report by the public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) reveals that tests of 5 wines and 15 beers, including organic ones, found traces of the controversial weed killer glyphosate in 19 out of the 20.
The 2018 Sutter Home Merlot was the wine with the highest concentration of glyphosate at 51.4 parts per billion (ppb), while in the beer category, it was Tsingtao from Hong Kong with 49.7 ppb. The American beer with the largest trace was Coors Light with 31.1. ppb.
A spokesperson for national trade association the Beer Institute told USA Today that the levels are below EPA risk for beverages: “Our members work with farmers who go to great lengths to raise their crops sustainably and safely. … The results of the most recent federal testing showed farmers’ use of glyphosate falls well below federal limits.”
A spokesperson for the Wine Institute wrote in a statement to USA Today: “An adult would have to drink more than 140 glasses of wine a day containing the highest glyphosate level measured just to reach the level that California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has identified as ‘No Significant Risk Level’.”
Organic winery Frey Vineyards noted that while no herbicides “have ever been used” in its farming practices, “glyphosate in trace amounts is now found in rainwater because of its application to conventionally farmed agricultural land. Glyphosate in trace amounts can be found in many food products across the United States. We urge consumers to speak up to ban all use of glyphosate.”
U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Kara Cook-Schultz, who authored the study, said: “The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous but are still concerning given the potential health risks. No matter the efforts of brewers and vintners, we found that it is incredibly difficult to avoid the troubling reality that consumers will likely drink glyphosate at every happy hour and backyard barbecue around the country.”
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