Since we’re not millionaires who buy everything organic, we assume that obviously, some of the things we eat are going to contain pesticides. What we didn’t know, but that an internal FDA memo points out, is that some of the things we eat may have more pesticides than is considered healthy. The Guardian obtained internal documents in which an FDA chemist tested some of the food from his home for the pesticide glyphosate and “had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide. ‘I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,’ FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate.” Thompson noted that “broccoli was the only food he had ‘on hand’ that he found to be glyphosate-free.”
Although glyphosate has been used for 40 years, the FDA has only started testing for it two years ago, a late effort that has caused the agency to receive some criticism. The New York Daily News points out that “The International Agency For Research On Cancer deemed glyphosate a potential human carcinogen in 2015.” So far, the FDA hasn’t released any public findings on the substance, which is what makes these internal emails so revelatory. The FDA terms the “acceptable level” of glyphosate at 5 parts per million. But even at that level, scientists argue that ingesting pesticides over long periods of time could add up. In a separate email, The Guardian reports, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found 6.5 parts per million of glyphosate in corn. But that news wasn’t released because the corn wasn’t considered an “official sample.”
The FDA’s official findings should be released by early 2019, as they usually appear two-and-a-half years after testing. Meanwhile, chemical manufacturer Monsanto is going to court this summer to try to protest “allegations its Roundup products [in which glyphosate is an active ingredient] cause cancer.”
The more we think about it, the more we think that that effort to stop eating completely might be the safest way to go.