Five Tips to Avoid Foods Tainted by Glyphosate
A California jury just found the infamous herbicide “Roundup” was the cause of a man’s cancer. This man was diagnosed with non-Hodkin’s lymphoma after years of spraying his property with glyphosate, aka “Roundup”.
This isn’t the only case linking Monsanto’s herbicide to causing cancer. Last year, a man was awarded 289 million dollars for the same reason.
This is scary information to learn. Roundup is one of the most popular herbicides used on produce and plants in the United States, which means a product that’s been linked to numerous cancer cases is being sprayed on a majority of your food.
You’re now probably wondering what you can do to avoid Roundup and the chemical in it called glyphosate. Short of growing all your own food, you can start by following the following 5 tips for avoiding foods with glyphosate.
What Is Glyphosate?
Glyphosate is the chemical found in the herbicide called Roundup. Glyphosate works by interfering with enzymes in plants, which leads to plant death.
Over 80% of the crops in the United States are sprayed with this herbicide. Besides commercial agricultural applications, Roundup is sold to towns, cities, homeowners, and businesses to treat lawns, gardens, fields, etc.
Because of the ubiquity of this chemical, it’s almost inevitable that you’ve experienced long-term exposure to it.
This could be by eating foods that have glyphosate residue on them, laying in the grass in a local field, eating foods with ingredients contaminated by glyphosate, working on farms, or even breathing it in from the air without realizing.
Why Is Glyphosate Bad for You?
You might think that since the chemical is only supposed to interfere with plant enzyme that you, as a non-plant, would be OK with exposure. That’s not the case.
Evidence shows that the chemical also interferes with microorganisms like the bacteria found in our digestive system and mucous membranes, which could explain why it affects human health. The World Health Organization has also reported that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, meaning it can lead to and cause cancer.
Short-term exposure to glyphosate can cause skin and eye itching and irritation. People who breathe it in report feeling itching in their airways, throat, and eyes.
And as the recent court cases have also shown, scientific studies have linked herbicide and glyphosate use to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects white blood cells and the immune system.
While more research is needed to definitively link this chemical to cancer, the anecdotal evidence and studies we have right now are concerning and scary. There are currently more than 11,000 lawsuits against the makers of Roundup for the alleged cancer-causing properties of the herbicide.
To be on the safe side, you’re best off avoiding foods and products containing glyphosate. Keep reading to learn how.
1. Look for Labels
There are two labels on food that can indicate less (or no) glyphosate residue: USDA certified organic and Glyphosate-Residue-Free.
In order to be labeled as USDA certified organic, the food and all of the ingredients in it must be 100% organic, meaning that no herbicides or pesticides were used on them.
While this label gives you the best chance at avoiding glyphosate, it’s still not a guarantee. Because use of the chemical is so widespread, it can carry in the air, soil, or water from other non-organic sources and make its way to organic foods.
A relatively new label launched by The Detox Project (an organization dedicated to eliminating glyphosate and other harmful chemicals from our lives) is the “Glyphosate-Residue-Free” label. While you won’t see this label on too many products yet, the organization is working hard to test and label food products with manufacturers, growers, and more.
2. Common Products and Foods with Glyphosate Residue to Avoid
Certain foods are more prone to having glyphosate residue. The big and ubiquitous crops are going to have the most: corn, soybeans, and canola.
That means byproducts of these as well, like:
- Corn syrup
- Vegetable oil
- Soybean oil
- Canola oil
- Soy products (tofu, soy sauce, etc)
- Fructose and other sugars derived from corn
If you buy these as organic products, they should be safe.
You should also limit or avoid the following (if non-organic):
- Wheat/grains (including products like cereal, bread, rice, oats, flours, etc)
- Prepared/processed foods (chips, cookies, muffins, etc)
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy vegetables (lettuce, greens, etc)
- Cotton products (including tampons, cotton balls, and clothes)
Remember, this is just a short list. With over 80% of crops sprayed with this chemical, it’s safe to say it’s on your produce. Don’t forget that these things can be found as ingredients, too.
3. Wash All Produce Thoroughly
You can’t avoid all produce forever. When you do buy produce, make sure to wash it with regular water. You can also buy (organic!) produce cleaners.
Don’t use soap, as the produce will soak up the soap. While this can’t remove all of the chemical (it can be found inside the plants/ingredients), it will remove any outer residue.
Dry with a cloth or paper towel.
4. Peel Produce
Washing can’t always remove outer glyphosate residue, so if you can peel the skin, you have a better chance of removing the chemical. Do this for carrots, potatoes, celery, beets, etc.
Be sure to remove outer layers of produce like lettuce, brussels sprouts, artichokes, etc.
5. Discard Fat and Skin of Meat
When crops sprayed with glyphosate (like corn, wheat, and soybeans) are fed to animals, the chemical stays trapped in the meat and skin of the animal.
It’s found in the highest concentrations in the skin and outer layers of fat. To eliminate the possibility of ingesting glyphosate this way, remove those parts of the meat and discard.
For Your Safety, Stay Up to Date on This Issue
We continue to learn more and more about the dangers associated with foods with glyphosate residue. We expect numerous more lawsuits just like the one we described above in the years to come.
To stay informed, continue to visit our blog for updates and tips on how to stay safe. Questions or concerns? Don’t hesitate to reach out.