Our food supply has been contaminated with roundup, and we can add just another thing to the list. According to a new report by the public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG, several beers and wine contain glyphosate.
The PIRG looked at five wines and 15 beers. They found traces of the weed killer in 19 out of 20 of the alcoholic drinks, including organic ones. They include brands like Coors Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Corona, Heineken, Guinness, Stella Artois, and Samuel Adams.
“The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous but are still concerning given the potential health risks,” U.S. PIRG said according to USA Today.
Glyphosate is a pesticide and herbicide. It's an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization.
A representative for the Beer Institute pointed out that the report acknowledges that the levels are below the EPA risk for beverages. They told USA Today,
"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."
They continued, "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,'” wrote a spokesperson for the Wine Institute in a statement to USA TODAY.
USA TODAY reached out to companies whose products were tested. Many of the brands contested the results. Others recognized that there are some level of herbicides that are present in "trace amounts" beyond their control.
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."
William Reeves, a toxicologist for Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, accused the group of publicizing misleading information about pesticide residues in food.
"Assuming the greatest value reported, 51.4 ppb, is correct, a 125-pound adult would have to consume 308 gallons of wine per day, every day for life to reach the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s glyphosate exposure limit for humans," he said "To put 308 gallons into context, that would be more than a bottle of wine every minute, for life, without sleeping."
The U.S. PIRG said it purchased all beers and wines in Denver and shipped them in sealed containers to a San Francisco lab. They would not reveal the name of the lab.
The first court trial over whether Monsanto's Roundup causes cancer ended in October when a San Francisco judge upheld a jury's verdict that the weed killer did make a groundskeeper who used the herbicide sick. However, they cut the amount due to him from $289 million to $78 million. DeWayne Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in when he was 42.
This PIRG report comes as the first federal case brought against the company over this issue is to begin in federal court in San Francisco. Plaintiff Edwin Hardeman alleges the Roundup he sprayed caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
"With a federal court looking at the connection between Roundup and cancer today, we believe this is the perfect time to shine a spotlight on glyphosate," Cook-Schultz said. "This chemical could prove a true risk to so many Americans' health, and they should know that it is everywhere – including in many of their favorite drinks."
More than 9,300 people have filed similar lawsuits across the U.S.