Glyphosate is the most commonly used herbicide in the world and, according to a recent study, it has been found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested. Genetically modified foods like corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets contain the highest concentrations of glyphosate, but there’s another source of glyphosate exposure that we should be concerned about. Articles about glyphosate and grains frequently refer to the herbicide as a desiccant. Desiccants are sprayed on crops right before harvest to kill them and dry them out, making the crop uniformly ready for harvest when the farmer needs them to sell the crop – no need to wait for mother nature. These non-GMO grains will likely have high levels of glyphosate sprayed on them. But organic grains have also tested positive for glyphosate.
Although most EPA -registered pesticides are prohibited in organic production, there can be inadvertent or indirect contact from neighboring conventional farms or shared handling facilities. As long as the operator hasn’t directly applied prohibited pesticides and has documented efforts to minimize exposure to them, the USDA organic regulations allow for residues of prohibited pesticides at or below 5 percent of the EPA tolerance.” – USDA
Non-organic and non-GMO wheat, barley, buckwheat, millet, and oats are frequently sprayed with glyphosate as a desiccant shortly before processing.
A few years ago Tropical Traditions did some research on glyphosate levels in wheat. Commercially available conventional wheat products from Canada, Montana, and South Dakota all tested positive for glyphosate. These are not genetically modified crops. “The range was from 0.07 mg/kg to 0.09 mg/kg.” For a GMO crop, “the range is typically between 3.3 and 5.7 mg/kg.”
Glyphosate is not allowed to be sprayed on organic wheat, which Tropical Traditions also tested for glyphosate. They were contaminated, with a range “from 0.03 to 0.o6 mg/kg, just slightly lower than the conventional grains we tested.” Organic rye and organic millet tested clean at the time. But this was from December 2015. We’re guessing the situation has only gotten worse.
EWG tested more than a dozen brands of oat-based foods. Glyphosate was found to be present on most of the oat-based foods tested, including organic products. Another recent study of glyphosate an oat products found that 5 of 16 popular, organic oats or oat-based products contained glyphosate residue.
Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Flax, Sorghum
Traditionally these crops dry out and are then ready for harvest. A combine harvester is used to harvest the grains. Farmers used to own these, but now farmers are much more often renting them.
When they come by with the combine, you have to be ready. There ain’t no ‘this is ready, need you to come back next week for that section.’ No. You’ve got to have your whole field ready. That’s why they spray. If it’s a real organic farm, like one that ain’t bullshitting, you need to own your own combine. But that’s getting more and more rare.” – Anonymous farmer
According to Tom Ehrhardt, co-owner of Minnesota-based Albert Lea Seeds, sourcing grains not desiccated with glyphosate prior to harvest is a challenge. “I have talked with millers of conventionally produced grain, and they all agree it’s very difficult to source oats, wheat, flax, and triticale, which have not been sprayed with glyphosate prior to harvest,” he says. “It’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy’ in the industry.” – Non-GMO Report
Along with wheat and oats, glyphosate is used to desiccate a wide range of other crops including lentils, peas, non-GMO soybeans, corn, flax, rye, triticale, buckwheat, millet, canola, sugar beets and potatoes. Sunflowers may also be treated pre-harvest with glyphosate, according to the National Sunflower Association.” – EcoWatch
Quinoa, amaranth, wild rice, sorghum, and spelt are also likely candidates for glyphosate desiccation, but we don’t see any testing be done on them. Regardless, contamination from drift is likely a problem for all grains, and pretty much all foods grown outside.
Like grains, beans pods aren’t all dried and ready at the same time, a serious inefficiency if you’re selling large quantities of beans like chickpeas, lentils, peas, and white beans. But the need for uniform drying at the same time has also made legumes a target for glyphosate desiccation. Monsanto (now Bayer) recommends using Roundup as a desiccant for lentils and dry beans, and the CFIA found that roughly 47% of beans, lentil, and pea products tested had glyphosate residues.
Technically, peanuts should be in the legumes category. From an eating standpoint, they’re more like nuts. They’re also one of the most heavily herbicide/pesticide-treated crops, and a study of the popular Skippy brand natural peanut butter found that the product contained 11.7ppb (parts per billion) of glyphosate.
Almonds are another potential source of glyphosate exposure, especially once they’re processed into almond milk. A screening of glyphosate usage levels released in 2015 by the Environmental Protection Agency reported that 85% of almonds farmed in the U.S. were treated with glyphosate.
Canola seeds are harvested and crushed to create canola oil and canola meal. Canola crops are almost always genetically modified and contain high levels of glyphosate.
This section could easily be titled sugar beets. After all, 95% of sugar beets grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to withstand Roundup. Glyphosate is used on both sugarbeets and sugarcane extensively. Sugarcane is hit with a double dose of the chemical, both as an herbicide and as a ripening method. Glyphosate is the only sugarcane ripener approved for use in the United States, so any sugarcane grown in the U.S. likely comes with glyphosate residue.
10 out of 10 wines tested positive for glyphosate
An anonymous supporter of advocacy group Moms Across America sent 10 wine samples to be tested for glyphosate. All of the samples tested positive for glyphosate — even organic wines, although their levels were significantly lower.” – Healthy Holsitc Living
What About Bob’s Red Mill?
On their website Bob’s Red Mill addressed the concerns on January 6, 2015:
The majority of our conventional wheat is grown close to home in the Pacific Northwest, where growing seasons are typically longer and the practice of desiccation is as such rarely used. We’ve been told desiccation is not a practice used by our individual farmers.”
But on September 5th of this year, Sustainable Pulse reported:
Bob’s Red Mill is facing a federal class action, filed in San Francisco Friday, after the world’s most used weedkiller, glyphosate, was discovered in both its organic and non-organic oats.
There is no bubble strong enough to protect you from glyphosate in 2018. Even a diet consisting entirely of organic products will have considerable levels of glyphosate residue due to pesticide/herbicide drift. Not all of us are able to dedicate the time and money needed to extensively research every single thing we eat. Other options include growing all of your own food or getting really good at detoxing. We also recommend shopping at your local farmer’s markets and finding farmers that care as much about this issue as you do.