A recent White Paper released by GMO Free USA entitled “Eating Out: A Date With Glyphosate” has reported that the weedkiller glyphosate and its byproducts are pervasive in foods served by major restaurant chains throughout the United States.
- Glyphosate was found in 39 out of 44 restaurant food samples tested at chains like Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, Papa John’s, McDonalds, Olive Garden, and more.
- The highest glyphosate levels were found in conventional “Whole Grain” or “Multigrain” foods, usually considered to be a healthy choice by consumers.
- The highest level in all 44 samples was found in a whole grain bagel from Panera Bread.
- Dunkin’ Donuts Arabica coffee and McDonald’s unsweetened iced tea also tested positive for glyphosate.
The study concluded that marketing terms such as “clean food” and “superior quality” are misleading to consumers, suggesting an absence of synthetic chemicals and byproducts that is not accurate.
How Does This Happen?
Glyphosate is the primary ingredient in Roundup herbicides and its equivalents. This weedkiller is used heavily on genetically modified “Roundup Ready” crops. However, glyphosate is also used to speed harvesting on non-GMO plants such as grains, sugar cane, lentils, beans, potatoes, and more. When used to control weeds between plant rows, it can be absorbed through the roots of plants like coffee and oranges. Current environmental standards include allowable “safe” levels of glyphosate in food, though research suggests that due to potential health problems, these limits are much too high.
Why This Matters
Glyphosate is linked to cancer by the World Health Organization, categorized as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. Other studies suggest that glyphosate can lead to immune system damage, kidney and liver damage, and may be a possible endocrine disrupter. In 2018, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma patient and former groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson was awarded $289 million in a lawsuit against Monsanto/Bayer, the company that produces Roundup, claiming that exposure to the glyphosate and other chemicals in the product caused his cancer.
What You Can Do
The study’s number one recommendation for reducing exposure to glyphosate is to choose organic options when purchasing food, as claims of being organic are federally regulated, while words like “natural” or “clean” are not. It is also recommended to avoid traditionally GMO crops such as corn, canola, soy, sugar beets, and cotton as they are commonly sprayed with glyphosate.