Glyphosate usage has gotten so out of control that it’s seemingly taken on a life of its own and is now showing up even in foods that haven’t been directly sprayed, namely the grapes used to make organic wine.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is the most used agricultural chemical in history. It’s used in a number of different herbicides (700 in all), but Roundup is by far the most widely used.
Since glyphosate was introduced in 1974, 1.8 million tons have been applied to U.S. fields, and two-thirds of that volume has been sprayed in the last 10 years.
A recent analysis showed that farmers sprayed enough glyphosate in 2014 to apply 0.8 pounds of the chemical to every acre of cultivated cropland in the U.S., and nearly 0.5 a pound of glyphosate to all cropland worldwide.1
If you purchase organic foods or beverages, you should theoretically be safe from glyphosate exposure, as this chemical is not allowed in organic farming. But a new analysis revealed glyphosate has now infiltrated not only wine but also organic wine.
100 Percent of Wine Tested Contained 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.
The highest level detected was 18.74 parts per billion (ppb), which was found in a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from a conventional vineyard. This was more than 28 times higher than the other samples tested.
The lowest level, 0.659 ppb, was found in a 2013 Syrah, which was produced by a biodynamic and organic vineyard. An organic wine made from 2012 mixed red wine grapes also tested positive for glyphosate at a level of 0.913 ppb.
How Does Glyphosate End up in Wine?
While glyphosate isn’t sprayed directly onto grapes in vineyards (it would kill the vines), it’s often used to spray the ground on either side of the grape vines. Moms Across America reported:
“This results in a 2-to 4- foot strip of Roundup sprayed soil with grapevines in the middle. According to Dr. Don Huber at a talk given at the Acres USA farm conference in December of 2011, the vine stems are inevitably sprayed in this process and the
Roundup is likely absorbed through the roots and bark of the vines from where it is translocated into the leaves and grapes.”
As for how the organic wines became contaminated, it’s likely that the glyphosate drifted over onto the organic and biodynamic vineyards from conventional vineyards nearby.
It’s also possible that the contamination is the result of glyphosate that’s left in the soil after a conventional farm converted to organic; the chemical may remain in the soil for more than 20 years.
Glyphosate Detected in 14 German Beers
A study of glyphosate residues by the Munich Environmental Institute also found glyphosate in 14 best-selling German beers. All of the beers tested had glyphosate levels above the 0.1 microgram limit allowed in drinking water.
Levels ranged from a high of 29.74 micrograms per liter found in a beer called Hasseroeder to a low of 0.46 micrograms per liter, which was found in the beer Augustiner. Although no tests have yet been conducted on American beer, it’s likely to be contaminated with glyphosate as well.
Indeed, laboratory testing commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse revealed that glyphosate is now showing up virtually everywhere, including in blood and urine samples, breast milk, drinking water and more.
The beer finding could be a blow to the German beer industry in particular. The country is the biggest beer producer in Europe and has long prided itself on brewing only the purest beer.
“Das Reinheitsgebot” is Germany’s food purity law. It’s one of the world’s oldest food safety laws and limited the ingredients in beer to only water, barley and hops (yeast was later approved as well).