A new report states that the main ingredient contained in the weed killer appears in organic beer and wine.
The United States PIRG tested samples of popular brands of beer and wine and found the chemical called glyphosate in 19 out of 20 brands. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup, produced by agrochemical giant Monsanto. Sutter Home Merlot had the highest level of weedkiller among the 20 brands, with 51 parts per billion (ppb). The barefoot Beringer Estates Moscato and Cabernet Sauvignon properties contained slightly lower amounts of this chemical.
Tsingtao beer contained 49 parts per billion of this chemical. Corona, Miller Lite, and Budweiser had between 25 and 30 ppb of the substance; Guinness and Heineken contained about 20 ppb. Stella Artois and Sam Adams drinks contained traces of the weed killer.
These levels are well below those that could potentially cause harm to humans, but suggest a disturbing prevalence of the natural weed killer, said Kara Cook-Schultz, director of the PIRG Toxics Program in the United States, at CBS News.
"If we find this level of glyphosate in wine and beer, even though we know that manufacturers do not use glyphosate, it means to me that there is glyphosate in a lot of people." other products, "said Cook-Schultz.
Peak Beer was the only brand tested to have no level of chemical.
Link against the contested cancer
Monsanto's parent company, Bayer, disputes that glyphosate causes cancer and has described the PIRG report as "misleading".
"The reality is that regulatory authorities enforce strict rules on pesticide residues," said William Reeves, a toxicologist at Bayer, through a spokesman. "The US Environmental Protection Agency sets daily exposure limits at least 100 times lower than levels that have shown no negative effects in safety studies."
The statement went on to say, "Assuming that the highest reported value, 51.4 ppb, is correct, a 125-pound adult should consume 308 gallons of wine a day, every day of life, to reach the limit of "The glyphosate exposure for humans set by the US Environmental Protection Agency." To put 308 gallons in context, this would be more than a bottle of wine a minute, for life, without sleep. "
Organic brands also affected
The PIRG investigation also revealed traces of the weed killer in some brands of organic products, which it is forbidden to use most chemicals in food production. That's not to say that these producers bypass the rules, but that glyphosate is so prevalent in the environment that it can be difficult to avoid, said Cook-Schultz.
"[At] I think they're not using glyphosate, "she told organic producers, pointing out that the chemical could be transported into organic fields through irrigation water or be present in the soil.
The Environmental Protection Agency does not conduct glyphosate testing in processed foods. But in recent years, tests by non-profit organizations and advocacy groups have revealed the presence of this chemical in cereals, snack bars and some Ben & Jerry ice creams.
First developed by Monsanto (which merged withlast year) in the 1970s, Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the United States for almost 20 years.
How much is too much?
California regulators have labeled glyphosate a "probable carcinogen," and France banned a version of Roundup last month for health reasons.
The amount of glyphosate to safely ingest is a topic of debate. The levels of chemicals found by PIRG are lower than what the state of California considers an acceptable level to consume, about 160 parts per million.
Monsanto maintains that glyphosate is safe. He will defend this position in a lawsuit brought by a 70-year-old man who claims that the herbicide had led to his cancer diagnosis in 2015.