September 16, 2016 — The FDA has found residues of Monsanto’s weed-killer Roundup (glyphosate) in honey samples from several locations in the United States.
Roundup is the most widely-used herbicide in the world. It is not being applied to bees, beehives, or honey. Instead, bees themselves are contaminating honey when they visit plants sprayed with glyphosate.
The consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know got the records with a Freedom of Information Act request.
FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem collected about 10 samples of honey. All of them contained glyphosate residues, and some had more than double the 50 parts per billion (ppb) allowed in the European Union. The samples (PDF) included:
- Carmichael’s Honey (Youngsville, Louisiana) — 107 ppb
- Leighton’s Orange Blossom Honey (Haines City, Florida) — 22 ppb
- Sue Bee Honey (Sioux City, Iowa) — 41 ppb
There is no legal tolerance for glyphosate in honey in the U.S. According to emails (PDF), the FDA says residues are “not a safety threat” despite being technically illegal because the EPA believes glyphosate is “almost non-toxic” to people.
It was only in February of this year that the FDA said it would start testing foods for glyphosate residues. That decision came after independent researchers found residues in flour, cereal, and oatmeal. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) also criticized the FDA for failing to test for glyphosate.
The last time the USDA tested food for glyphosate was in 2011, when 300 samples of soybeans were tested. More than 90% — 271 samples — had residues of glyphosate, but the agency said further testing was “not a high priority” because it was considered safe, according to the Huffington Post.
Concerns have been growing since last year, when the World Health Organization’s cancer agency declared glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen.” Those conclusions were based on a number of studies around the world linking it with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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